Chase Barnett and the Flames are ranked No. 12 in the latest FCS Coaches poll and No. 16 in the Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Top 25 listing.
FCS Coaches Poll Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Top 25 poll
Losses ahead of the Flames in the two FCS national rankings have helped Liberty to an all-time best ranking under head coach Danny Rocco and near record highs for the football program. Following a bye week, Liberty is now ranked No. 12 in the latest FCS Coaches rankings and No. 16 in the Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Top 25 listing, as announced earlier today. The FCS Coaches poll ranking is Liberty's best during the five-year tenure of Rocco and the fifth-best in program history. The previous best under Rocco was last week's No. 14 ranking in the FCS Coaches poll, which marked the third time the Flames had received that same ranking during his five years on Liberty Mountain. Liberty was also ranks No. 14 twice in 2008, as the Flames received the ranking following a 6-0 start to the campaign and in the final rankings after a 10-2 season. This is the program's highest ranking since 1990, when Liberty opened the season 4-0 and was ranked No. 8 heading into its match-up with Villanova on Sept. 29. Liberty was also ranked No. 9 the week prior when it won its fourth-straight game with a 42-13 victory over Morehead State. Liberty also had two higher national rankings in 1989. The Flames began the Sam Rutigliano area of football 6-0 and were ranked No. 11 and No. 9 on Oct. 21 and 28, respectively, before suffering a 33-30 to UCF in Orlando, Fla., and falling in the polls. Liberty's two-spot improvement in the FCS Coaches poll and one-spot jump in the Sports Network listing was due largely to the results in a pair of CAA Top 25 battles. The Flames were able to move ahead of James Madison and Massachusetts, following their road setbacks. James Madison dropped to 4-3 on the year, after a 14-7 loss at previously ranked No. 6 Villanova on Saturday, while UMass fell, 39-13, at previously ranked No. 9/10 New Hampshire. James Madison is now ranked No. 15 in the FCS Coaches poll and No. 16 in the Sports Network listing, while UMass is No. 18 in both national polls. Delaware suffered a 17-16 loss at Williams & Mary over the weekend in a Top 5 battle, and fell from No. 2 in both polls down to No. 6. Appalachian State moved to 7-0 on the season with 37-14 road win over Western Carolina and remains the consensus No. 1 pick in both listings, while Jacksonville State is the new No. 2 in both polls. Stephen F. Austin is No. 3 and William & Mary is No. 4 in the FCS Coaches poll, while the two teams have flipped spots in the Sports Network listing. The Flames will return to Big South Conference action this weekend when Liberty hits the road to begin a four-game closing stretch to the regular season. The Flames will travel to Clinton, S.C., to face Presbyterian College on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The Blue Hose ended the nation's longest FCS losing streak this past weekend with a 26-24 victory over Gardner-Webb in Boiling Springs, N.C.
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