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Florida A&M Prepared to Battle Huge Odds Versus SLU

Vegas oddsmakers have set the FCS Championship odds to win in the title game set for Jan. 8. 2022. The Rattlers are extreme longshots to become the FCS Champions.

Vegas oddsmakers have set the FCS Championship odds to win in the title game set for Jan. 8. 2022. The Rattlers are extreme longshots to become the FCS Champions at +100000.

No. 22 Florida A&M (9-2, 7-1 SWAC) will square off against No. 17 Southeastern Louisiana (8-3) in the first round of the 2021 FCS Football Playoffs in Hammond, LA. The odds for SLU are set at +25000.

FAMU

HOW FAMU GOT TO THE FCS PLAYOFFS

FAMU received an at-large bid to the football tournament after ending the season in second place to SWAC East champions Jackson State (10-1, 8-0 SWAC).

“Secretly, we were rooting for them [Jackson State] to lose twice or to win out, Simmons said.

Unfortunately, yet fortunately for Florida A&M, Jackson State did not lose and allowed the Rattlers to lobby to FCS for its at-large bid.

Besides the Jackson State loss in the season opener, Coach Simmons' team's other blemish was at the hands of South Florida. The FBS team defeated the Rattlers 38-17 on Sept. 18. Since that setback, FAMU has recorded an eight-game win streak to earn a berth in the FCS Playoffs.

JSU vs FAMU

Winning Saturday evening in Hammond will be a colossal upset for the Rattlers, but this team believes they have history on their side. Florida A&M (12-1, 5-0 SIAC) won the NCAA Division I-AA championship in 1978 under the leadership of former head coach Rudy Hubbard. Officially, this is the only time an HBCU program won a national title via the NCAA playoffs.

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THE ODDS

The favorites for the 202l FCS National Championship are:

  • North Dakota State +180,
  • Sam Houston +200,
  • James Madison +550,
  • South Dakota State +800,
  • Villanova +1600

ODDS FOR FAMU AND SLU

  • FAMU +100000
  • SLU  +25000

FAMU vs. SLU PLAYOFF QUICK PREVIEW

I believe FAMU's fourth-ranked defense will have their hands full against signal-caller Cole Kelley and SLU's top-ranked offense. The 2020-21 Walter Payton Award-winning quarterback is a dual-threat in the game's passing (74.2% completion rate, 38 TD) and running (16 TD) phases this season.

The Ratter's tenacious "Dark Cloud Defense" must make Kelley one-dimensional and neutralize his overall effectiveness. Isaiah Land leads the FCS with 19 sacks. BJ Bohler and Markquese Bell lead a secondary who amassed 12 interceptions in 2021. 

Bell told Tallahassee Democrat Rory Sharrock the keys for the defense will be "executing on the little things, being disciplined, finishing every play, playing fast and physical." His teammates will face the dangerous SLU receivers Austi Mitchell, Larvadain Gage, and Nolan Givan.

The Rattlers must control their emotions against the Lions and play disciplined football. The SLU fans are passionate and make the scene hostile for visitors.

Will Florida A&M hit I-10 heading back to Tallahassee with a victory on Saturday evening?

We shall see.

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