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Does UCF’s McKenzie Milton have a realistic Heisman shot?

UCF has launched a formal Heisman campaign for its junior quarterback
UCF's McKenzie Milton is a national championship quarterback, according to UCF. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
UCF's McKenzie Milton is a national championship quarterback, according to UCF. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
Published Jun. 28, 2018

On the heels of the national title narrative it began forging in early January, UCF is launching a campaign a bit less shameless.

On Thursday, the school commenced its organized Heisman Trophy push for junior QB McKenzie Milton, replete with hashtag (#HIsman) and a video. (For those wondering, the capitalized HI refers to Milton's Hawaii upbringing).

Question now becomes, does Milton — the 2017 American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year — have a legitimate chance to snag an invitation to the Downtown Athletic Club, or are the Knights wasting their money?

To be sure, Milton's already on the national radar, courtesy of that unbeaten '17 season, and his numbers last year ranked somewhere between sparkling and staggering.

In addition to leading UCF to an unbeaten season (and Peach Bowl win against Auburn), he finished in the top five nationally in several categories including total offense (357.7 ypg), touchdown passes (37), pass efficiency (179.3) and yards per attempt (10.22).

But the negative factors could prove insurmountable, not the least of which is the Group of Five stigma. As we noted in a story on Quinton Flowers' 2017 Heisman odds last summer, no player from a non-Power Five program has won the Heisman since BYU's Ty Detmer in 1990.

Additionally, the Knights' schedule isn't exactly daunting, with games against ACC middleweights North Carolina and Pitt the non-conference highlights (though that Sept. 21 Friday night game against the Fighting Kiffins of FAU could be a doozy).

A totally seamless transition to a new coach (Josh Heupel) also will be necessary for Milton, and just how often does that occur?

Much like Flowers last fall, Milton probably needs a perfect regular season, capped by convincing efforts (and wins) in his rivalry game and American Athletic Conference title game. Even that may not be enough.

Unless, of course, the Colley Matrix starts determining a Heisman winner.