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Stan Becton | NCAA.com | November 25, 2021

5 reasons why Sam Houston can defend its FCS title in the 2021 playoffs

FCS bracket predictions: Every playoff game picked, through the national championship

The FCS playoff bracket was revealed and to no one's surprise, Sam Houston received the top seed. The Bearkats are the reigning national champions and enter the playoffs on a 21-game win streak after finishing 10-0 this season. 

Sam Houston has shown dominance throughout its win streak and enters the tournament with a chance to repeat as champions. The road won't be easy for the Bearkats, holding the FCS crown. Yet, Sam Houston has what it takes to defend its title.

Here's why Sam Houston is ready to defend its FCS title in the 2021 playoffs

1.  Sam Houston has an elite quarterback in a balanced offense

Quarterback play is vital to a deep playoff run and when it comes to quarterbacks, Sam Houston has an elite one. Sam Houston quarterback Eric Schmid is an All-American, ranking in the top 10 this year in passing touchdowns. Sam Houston has the third-leading scoring offense with Schmid under center, but he doesn't do it alone.

Running back Ramon Jefferson brings balance to the Bearkat offense as another threat. Jefferson sits in the top 20 in the FCS in rushing yards and touchdowns. Jefferson keeps opposing defenses on their toes, not knowing whether to load to box for the run or sit back and play the pass. A balanced offense with an elite quarterback gives Sam Houston a strategic advantage for its latest playoff run.

PREDICTIONS: Predictions, picks for every FCS playoff game and round

2. Defense wins championships and the Bearkats have plenty of it

The common cliché is defense wins championships. While the phrase may not always be true, a good defense definitely doesn't hurt a team's championship aspirations. For Sam Houston, its defense is one of the nation's best.

The Bearkats have the second-leading rushing defense and have allowed the 10th fewest first downs in the FCS. There's star power at multiple levels, with defensive end Jahari Kay, defensive tackle Joseph Wallace, linebacker Markel Perry and defensive back Zyon McCollum. If you like a defense that can score, Sam Houston does that too; the Bearkats have four defensive touchdowns this season.

If Sam Houston gets in a defensive battle this postseason, it has what it takes to come out on top.

Watch the 2021 FCS football championship selection show

3. Home-field advantage

As the top seed, Sam Houston has home-field advantage through the semifinals. This bodes well for the Bearkats as teams that have only played home games through the semifinal round have been the participants in the last four FCS championship games. 

Sam Houston also enters the playoffs on a 12-game home win streak. The road to the FCS title runs through Huntsville and Sam Houston knows how to defend its home turf.

WATCH: Watch the 2021 FCS football championship selection show

4. Sam Houston has proven ability to handle adversity

In unprecedented conditions, Sam Houston won its first national title last spring. The Bearkats won the championship with distractions from the pandemic, virtual classes and more, demonstrating the ability to handle adversity. With all starters from the championship run returning, Sam Houston is capable of adapting to whatever comes its way.

Take a look at the Bearkats in Week 5. Schmid missed that game against Stephen F. Austin, where Sam Houston came back from a 20-6 deficit to win 21-20. If Sam Houston gets in a rough situation, it knows how to persevere and find a way to win.

5. Coaching

Sam Houston head coach K.C. Keeler has been one of the best in the FCS for a long time. Keeler has two FCS titles under his belts at two different schools, including last year's championship run.

While it often flies under the radar, great coaching can be the difference when talent amongst players is similar. Keeler has proven time and time again that he knows how to get the job done at a championship level.

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