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Flames Crack Sports Network's Top 25 Poll

September 8, 2008
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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For the first time since 1998, the Flames are nationally ranked at No. 25 in the latest Sports Network poll.

For the first time since 1998, the Flames are nationally ranked at No. 25 in the latest Sports Network poll.

Following their third 2-0 start to a season under head coach Danny Rocco, Liberty's football program garnered its first Top 25 ranking in 10 years when the Sports Network poll had the Flames ranked No. 25 in its listing released earlier today.

Liberty was one of several programs in the country to receive votes for the Top 25 in the Sports Network's Preseason and Week 1 polls. However, the Flames finished the second regular season poll with 147 votes, edging out Northern Arizona (125 votes) for the final spot on the Sports Network's weekly national ranking list.

The last time the Flames were nationally ranked was prior to the 1998 campaign. Liberty opened the year ranked tied for No. 24 along with Troy State in the ESPN/USA Today Division I-AA Top 25, which was released on Aug, 31.

The Flames, who finished the prior 1997 season ranked No. 19 after a 9-2 campaign, fell out of the polls after a 29-18 road setback to No. 21 Appalachian State on Sept. 5, 1998, in Boone, N.C.

Two of Liberty's remaining 10 2008 foes finished ahead of the Flames in this week's Sports Network Top 25 FCS Poll. Elon, who rebounded in week two with a 30-20 victory over Big South newcomer Stony Brook, ranks No. 18.

Youngstown State suffered its second-straight setback, this time falling 40-7 to South Dakota State, remained in the Top 25 at No. 23 despite a 0-2 record. The Flames and the Penguins will square off at Stambaugh Stadium in Youngstown, Ohio, on Sept. 27.

Liberty fell just a few votes shy of cracking the FCS Coaches Poll Top 25, ranking No. 27 with 37 votes. Delaware State stands at No. 25 in the rankings with 54 points.

The Sports Network and the FCS Coaches Polls, along with the Gridiron Power Index, will be one of the components used by the NCAA FCS Playoff Selection Committee at the end of the season to determine the 16-team playoff field. A program will have to be ranked No. 16 or higher in all three polls to meet the ranking criteria for FCS playoff consideration.

The Flames will put their first national ranking in over a decade on the line this weekend, when Liberty travels to Cullowhee, N.C., for a 6 p.m. match-up with Western Carolina. The contest against the Catamounts will be the first of three-straight road tests for Liberty.

Sports Network's FCS College Football Poll
Team (First-place votes) - Record Points Previous Rank
1. Appalachian State Mountaineers (85) 1-1 2,976 1
2. North Dakota State Bison (22) 2-0 2,775 2
3. Massachusetts Minutemen (1) 2-0 2,647 4
4. Richmond Spiders 1-1 2,606 3
5. Montana Grizzlies (1) 1-0 2,572 5
6. Delaware Blue Hens (1) 0-1 2,561 6
7. James Madison Dukes 1-1 2,470 8
8. McNeese State Cowboys 1-1 2,218 10
9. Northern Iowa Panthers 0-1 1,504 9
10. New Hampshire Wildcats 1-0 1,400 15
11. Southern Illinois Salukis 1-0 1,343 12
12. Wofford Terriers 1-0 1,293 13
13. South Dakota State Jackrabbits 1-1 994 21
14. Cal Poly Mustangs 1-1 962 11
15. Western Illinois Leathernecks 1-1 918 18
16. Eastern Washington Eagles 0-2 866 7
17. Georgia Southern Eagles 1-1 833 16
18. Elon Phoenix 1-1 820 17
19. Central Arkansas Bears 2-0 597 22
20. Eastern Illinois Panthers 0-2 517 19
21. Villanova Wildcats 0-1 470 23
22. The Citadel Bulldogs 1-1 411 20
23. Youngstown State Penguins 0-2 228 14
24. Harvard Crimson 0-0 191 25
25. Liberty Flames 2-0 147 NR

Others receiving votes: Northern Arizona 125, Furman 113, Delaware State 95,
Sam Houston State 89, Fordham 65, Eastern Kentucky 54, Jacksonville State 51,
Hampton 46, Tennessee State 43, Yale 42, Holy Cross 41, South Carolina State
21, San Diego 18, Norfolk State 17, UC Davis 16, Montana State 15, Sacramento
State 15, Grambling 13, North Dakota 12, South Dakota 12, Prairie View 10,
Dayton 8, Coastal Carolina 8, Albany 7, Colgate 5, Hofstra 5, Stony Brook 5,
Nicholls State 3, Northwestern State 2, Lafayette 1, Texas State 1.