ORLANDO, FL — On Saturday night, the 11-ranked and undefeated Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (11-0) take on the No.23 Liberty Flames (9-0) in the Cure Bowl in Orlando, FL at Exploria Stadium.
Liberty’s only loss coming against No.23 NC State by 1 on the road. Coastal Carolina and Liberty were scheduled to play each other on December 5th before COVID-19 struck and both teams had to cancel.
Due to the cancellation, then No.8 BYU added Coastal Carolina to their schedule on short notice and flew over 2,000 miles from Provo,Utah to Conway to face Coastal Carolina, where both teams eventually gave us the game of the year.
This is great for college football as these two programs have a lot of history. 14 match-ups and they are tied at seven wins apiece, their last meeting was 2016, a meeting in which Coastal Carolina won 42-7.
For the Group of Five to really make a statement and have a seat at the table with the “big boys” from the Power Five, Coastal Carolina needs to keep doing what they have been doing for their first 11 games of the season in remaining undefeated, with the other lone remaining team in the country being the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Because of teams like the Chanticleers, some people will point to this, and use the recent four teams currently in the College Football Playoffs in the forementioned Crimson Tide, Clemson, Notre Dame and Ohio State as a case study as to why you need a 16-team playoff, because Coastal Carolina would certainly be included in it.
Chanticleers freshman quarterback Grayson McCall is having a fantastic season, and needs to keep this up against the Liberty defense. For the season, McCall is 151-218 for 2,170 yards and 23 TD’s with just two interceptions.
For Coastal Carolina to win, they need to keep their top playmaker in running back Torrance Marable involved, as he has been responsible for 19 touchdowns this season for the Chanticleers.
To pull off this upset, the Flames need to keep Marable in check and force McCall to make mistakes.
On offense, Liberty can be one of the toughest teams to deal with as ex-Auburn QB Malik Willis is very dangerous with his arm and his legs.
But apart from that, they have three running backs who can wreak havoc on opposing defenses. Liberty averages 252 yards per game. If the Flames hope to torch Coastal Carolina, then they will need to run the ball early and often to not only control the game and clock, but also keep the Chanticleers off the field.
If they can continue to run the ball like that, Coastal Carolina can be in a lot of trouble.
They say that styles make fights, and in the case of Coastal Carolina-Liberty, you have two teams eager to make a statement and carry the Group of Five banner. Both teams are dynamic, able to make big plays and have a chip on their shoulder.
Personally, I feel that the Chanticleers see this as their championship game with a chance to claim a potential national title, and pull a 2017 UCF. If there is a year and circumstance to do so, this would be it, and honestly, I don’t blame them as college football needs a hard reset on this whole CFP playoff thing.
That being said, I got the ‘Cleers in another thriller, 31-27 down the road at Exploria.