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Flames Ranked No. 21 in Sports Network Poll

August 16, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Flames Ranked No. 21 in Sports Network Poll

Sports Network/Fathead.com Preseason FCS Top 25 poll

Liberty received its first official preseason national ranking of the year today, as the Flames find themselves ranked No. 21 in the preseason Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Top 25 poll, as released by the Sports Network earlier this afternoon.

The Flames finished the 2009 season with an 8-3 overall mark and shared the Big South Conference title with a 5-1 league record, earning its third-straight conference championship.

Liberty has been a nationally ranked FCS program the last three years, reaching as high as No. 14 in the final Sports Network poll in 2008, following a 10-2 campaign. However, this marks the first preseason Top 25 ranking for the program during the five-year tenure of head coach Danny Rocco.

Liberty has found a variety of rankings in this year's annual preseason magazines, including listings at No. 15 in Athlon Sports, No. 20 in Lindy's Sports and No. 25 in Phil Steele's College Football Preview.

During the 2009 season, Liberty was ranked inside the Top 25 of the Sports Network or FCS Coaches polls nine out of 14 weeks (including the preseason and final polls). Liberty was ranked as high as No. 16 in both listings, following a 54-14 victory over VMI on Nov. 7.

Dating back to the beginning of the 2008 season and including today's Sports Network listing, Liberty has been ranked inside the Top 25 22 out of the last 30 polls.

Voting on the preseason FCS Coaches poll closes during the next few days and the poll is scheduled to be released later this week.

James Madison, who the Flames will face in Harrisonburg on Sept. 25, was ranked No. 15 by the Sports Network, while five other 2010 opponents received consideration in the preseason ranking.

Stony Brook took home 12 votes, followed by Gardner-Webb (11), Robert Morris (9), VMI (5) and Coastal Carolina (1).

The Flames are slated to open their 2010 schedule on Sept. 4 against St. Francis, Pa., in Lynchburg at historic City Stadium. It will mark the program's first home game away from Williams Stadium since Liberty moved out of City Stadium midway through the 1989 season.

Liberty is completing a $16 million renovation to Williams Stadium, which will add 7,200 seats, 18 luxury suites and a five-story press tower to its home facility. Liberty is scheduled to open the renovated stadium against Savannah State on Oct. 2 at 7 p.m.