The team around UCF Football has shown they are adept at crafting a message. After Knights Athletic Director Danny White looked into a camera on the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and said "National champs, undefeated," on January 1, the trajectory of the program was perhaps changed forever.
Since the Peach Bowl victory over Auburn, the program has received unprecedented publicity. One report that was commissioned by UCF says that the school has generated over $200 million in free press since the win.
In the aftermath of the national championship declaration, UCF fans have a greater sense of identity and people around the country know who the Knights are more than ever. Enrollment numbers for the university are off the charts and Spectrum Stadium is already around 90 percent sold out for the 2018 season.
There are less than 90 days until the start of that highly-anticipated campaign and the time has come for UCF to turn the page. That does not mean that they have to be done with the campaign-making business though.
The next UCF marketing marvel needs to come in the form of a preseason Heisman Trophy push for junior quarterback McKenzie Milton. For years, schools have used these long summer months to craft a message to the nation about deserving players they think should be considered.
I will never forget seeing the news that Oregon had put a billboard up on a skyscraper in New York City announcing quarterback Joey Harrington's candidacy in 2001. Notre Dame famously changed the pronunciation of quarterback Joe Theismann's name to add some pizzazz to their efforts.
UCF does not need anything that wacky perhaps, but building Milton's national reputation is the perfect natural jumping off point for what has already been accomplished. He certainly merits the buzz after exploding on the scene last year to throw for a school-record 4,904 yards and 37 touchdowns.
Milton was the American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year and won the Archie Griffin Award, the trophy handed out by the Touchdown Club of Columbus to signify college football's most valuable player. He finished eighth in Heisman voting, which makes him the third returning vote-getter for 2018 next to a pair of running backs, Stanford's Bryce Love and Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor.
15 of the last 18 Heisman winners have been quarterbacks, so the argument can be made that Milton is actually the early leader in the clubhouse to hoist the bronze cast trophy. However, his status as the leader of a non-Power 5 team is what is holding him back in the eyes of many.
Indeed, this sentiment has some validity because the last player to win the award from a non-P5 school was BYU's Ty Detmer in 1990. Many of the preseason prognosticators have held to this fact when handicapping the 2018 Heisman field.
NFL.com published a list of 18 candidates last month that includes a defensive player from the American, Houston's Ed Oliver, but not Milton. He has 33/1 odds to win the Heisman per Bet Online, which ranks him below 14 other players.
Even though the Knights are a G5 team, the top quarterback vote-getter from last year should be given more of a realistic shot at the most prestigious individual honor in college football. UCF has a loaded roster returning around Milton and they will likely be favored in every game.
One has to think that another undefeated season from the Knights at least lands the kid from Hawaii as a finalist in New York. #AlohaHeisman anyone?
Start the campaign UCF. We know you can execute it better than anyone else in the country.