Liberty is one victory away from bowl eligibility and has two chances to reach the all-important seventh win: at Virginia next weekend and at home against New Mexico State on Nov. 30. The Flames are enjoying their second open week of the season, so this felt like the perfect time to look at where national publications are projecting Liberty to play in December.
- ESPN: Kyle Bonagura: Cure Bowl vs. Arkansas State (Dec. 21); Mark Schlabach: Cure Bowl vs. Arkansas State
- CBS Sports: Birmingham Bowl vs. Tulane (Jan. 2)
- Sporting News: Birmingham Bowl vs. Boston College
- WatchStadium: Cure Bowl vs. Arkansas State
- Banner Society: Frisco Bowl vs. Tulane (Dec. 20)
- 247Sports: Birmingham Bowl vs. Tulane
- College Football News: Music City vs. Miami (Fla.) (Dec. 30)
- Bleacher Report: Cure Bowl vs. Georgia Southern
- USA Today: None
- Sports Illustrated: None
The overwhelming projection is the Cure Bowl, and for good reason. Liberty is in the second of a two-year agreement as a secondary bowl tie-in for the Cure Bowl. If the Sun Belt and American Athletic conferences do not have enough eligible teams to fill their bowl tie-ins, Liberty would be slotted into the bowl game.
The projections from ESPN (x2), WatchStadium and Bleacher Report have the Flames filling the vacancy left by the American Athletic Conference getting its top team in a New Year’s Six bowl game as an at-large.
Cincinnati and Memphis are currently the top two Group of 5 programs in the latest College Football Playoff rankings at Nos. 17 and 18, respectively, and the highest ranked Group of 5 team receives an at-large bid to the Cotton Bowl.
What would hurt the Flames would be Boise State, currently at No. 21, jumping the two AAC programs and receiving the at-large bid to the New Year’s Six bowl game.
A third AAC team, Navy, is currently ranked 23rd and could make a big leap if it defeats Notre Dame this weekend and SMU next weekend.
The other projections have Liberty receiving an at-large bid to bowl games in which the respective conferences are unable to fill their allotments.
Banner Society has projected Liberty will play in the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl for four straight weeks. Sporting News’ projection of Liberty against Boston College in the Birmingham Bowl has been the same for four straight weeks.
247Sports previously had Liberty playing Virginia Tech and Wake Forest in the Belk Bowl before moving the Flames to the Birmingham Bowl against Tulane. The publication was projecting two teams from the SEC to make the College Football Playoff, but Alabama’s loss to LSU last weekend dropped the second team (Alabama) from the top four, therefore slotting an SEC team in the Belk Bowl.
CBS Sports has Liberty in a different bowl game than in previous weeks. CBS Sports’ projection mirrors 247Sports after previously projecting the Flames to play in the Quick Lane Bowl, Belk Bowl and Texas Bowl.
This is the first week College Football News has Liberty in a projected bowl game, and it would be to fill a vacant spot against Miami, from the ACC.