The Liberty Flames will begin play as a FBS member beginning this fall, and the Flames are already locking down a bowl tie-in just in case they happen to qualify. Yes, that includes this season, which comes under a special set of circumstances.
Liberty announced an agreement with the AutoNation Cure Bowl for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Liberty would be next in line to fill any vacancy in the bowl game left open by the American Athletic Conference and Sun Belt Conference, as long as the Flames meet the minimum win-total to qualify for postseason play.
Under normal FBS transition procedures in college football, a team playing its first season in the FBS after moving up from the FCS would typically be ineligible for postseason play regardless of the school’s win total. However, there are provisions in place to allow a school to be included in the postseason in the event there are vacancies to fill. So for 2018, Liberty would need a vacancy to fill in the Cure Bowl and for the school to meet a set of standards required by the NCAA to complete its transition. All indications are that would be the case.
Now, Liberty just needs to scratch together six wins in its first FBS season, which will include a pair of games against FCS opponents. Liberty will only be allowed to count one win against those FCS programs toward its bowl-minimum win total (a rule that is in place for every FBS program).
The Cure Bowl ends up in a more secure spot as a result with this agreement in place, because if it does need to fill a spot in its bowl game, the chance it is filled without much of a hassle is increased. And it also helps that Liberty has the potential to be a good traveling fan base.