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2010 Slate Includes Full Division I Schedule

December 23, 2009  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Head coach Danny Rocco and the Flames will complete a complete Division I schedule during the 2010 season.

Head coach Danny Rocco and the Flames will complete a complete Division I schedule during the 2010 season.

2010 Football Schedule

For the first time in program history, Liberty will play a complete Division I football schedule, as released the Liberty University Athletics Department has released its 2010 football schedule.

"This is the first season in school history that Liberty will play an 11-game schedule which consists of all Division I opponents," remarked head football coach Danny Rocco. "Our nonconference schedule includes road trips to Ball State and James Madison, as well as several other very attractive FCS opponents. Additionally, for the first time in league history, the Big South Conference will have an automatic bid to the FCS playoffs.

"We are all very excited about our 2010 season, as well as the future of our program," continued Rocco. "The 2010 season will see Liberty football being played in an expanded Williams Stadium and in front of continued record crowds."

The 2010 season will actually be Liberty/s second attempt at a complete Division I schedule. Liberty had planned to play its first complete Division I schedule in 2009, but Iona dropped its program at the conclusion of the 2008 season, leaving Liberty to fill the vacancy in its 2009 slate with Division II West Virginia Wesleyan.

"We are excited about next year's schedule. Having five home games is not what we would normally want, but it was necessary this year with the upcoming expansion of Williams Stadium," commented Jeff Barber, Liberty's Director of Athletics. "It was our goal to have a complete schedule of Division I games and we are pleased to be able to do so."

The Flames will open the season with a home game against St. Francis, Pa., in the newly renovated Williams Stadium on Sept. 4. An eight-month construction process is slated to begin next week at the on-campus facility to expand the seating capacity from 12,000 to 19,200 and build a new five-story, state-of-the-art press and suite tower.

Liberty will spend the remainder of the month of September on the road, beginning with a pair of newcomers to the Flames' schedule.

On Sept. 11, Liberty will travel to Muncie, Ind., to face off against Ball State. The Cardinals give Liberty a FBS opponent for the second year in a row and the fourth time during Rocco's tenure on Liberty Mountain.

Ball State hails from the Mid-American Conference (MAC), a league Liberty is familiar with, having previously squared off against seven of its current members.

One of Liberty's most notable wins in program history took place against a MAC opponent, when the Flames upset Eastern Michigan, 25-24, on Oct. 14, 1989, in Ypsilanti, Mich., marking the program's lone win over a FBS opponent.

The following weekend, Rocco will take the Flames back to his home state, as the Keystone State native will take Liberty to Pittsburgh, Pa., to face Robert Morris on Sept. 18. The Colonials reeled off five-straight wins to finish tied for third in the Northeast Conference (NEC) in 2009. Robert Morris will be Liberty's second NEC foe in 2010, as St. Francis, Pa., also competes in the same league.

Liberty will close out the month of September when the Flames continue their four-year series with James Madison on Sept. 25. Next year's match-up with take place in Harrisonburg, Va., where Liberty has posted a 3-6 record in nine previous match-ups with the Dukes.

The Flames will close out their non-conference schedule on Oct. 2, when they return home to host Savannah State. In Liberty's only previous meeting with the Tigers, which took place in Savannah, Ga., Liberty blanked Savannah State, 28-0, on Sept. 23, 2006, marking one of six shutouts during Rocco's four years at the helm of the program.

Liberty will begin looking for an unprecedented fourth-straight Big South Conference title when they begin league play by hosting Charleston Southern at home on Oct. 9, before traveling up the Blue Ridge Mountains to Lexington, Va., to face VMI on Oct. 16.

Following an open weekend, Liberty will make the trek to Clinton, S.C., to face off against Presbyterian on Oct. 30.

Liberty will close out its ninth Big South Conference schedule with two home games and a road contest in the month of November.

The Flames will host Gardner-Webb on Nov. 6, before traveling to Conway, S.C., to face Coastal Carolina on Nov. 13. For the second year in a row, Liberty will close out its league slate against Stony Brook, when the Flames host the Seawolves at Williams Stadium on Nov. 20.

The team who finishes atop the league standings in 2010 will have claimed more than just a league title and trophy, as the victor will also capture the league's first-ever automatic bid into the NCAA FCS Playoffs.

For the first time since the 1987 season, the NCAA will be expanding the NCAA FCS Playoff field from 16 teams to 20, with the Big South receiving one of four new automatic qualifying bids.

The expanded playoff bracket will begin with four first-round games at home sites on Nov. 27. The four victors will advance to the second round, where they will join the remaining 12 teams to complete the bracket and begin their match toward Chattanooga, Tenn., where the 2010 NCAA FCS national champion will be crowned.