McKenzie Milton continues to thrive under the spotlight as the star of UCF’s 2017 undefeated season. With ESPN College GameDay headed to town for a battle between (again) undefeated UCF and AAC contender Cincinnati, Milton has not been shy about his personal confidence or his team’s overall talent.
Milton certainly made noise this week in an interview with Bleacher Report. The latest? Milton expressed his strong belief that No. 11 UCF is the better undefeated team when compared to No. 3 Notre Dame.
“You look at the [Pitt] film against us and Notre Dame,” Milton told Bleacher Report. “You can’t tell me Notre Dame is a better team than us.”
Then asked, “You don’t see a difference?”
“Oh, I see a difference,” Milton said. “We’re better.”
Later in Bleacher Report’s article, Milton continues.
“Notre Dame scored late to beat Pitt, and you hear the committee talk about how great it was for them to pull it out,” Milton said. “Then what we did to Pitt is ignored.”
Does Milton’s argument hold water? Both voters and the College Football Playoff selection committee do not see things that way. Comparing the Pittsburgh games for both opponents, UCF’s 45-14 win in Orlando stands taller than Notre Dame’s South Bend win over the Panthers. But while UCF does not have a 12th game after weather cancelled North Carolina, Notre Dame has three wins over ranked opponents, including a 24-17 victory over now-No. 4 Michigan in Week 1. Should Notre Dame hold off No. 12 Syracuse tomorrow at Yankee Stadium, the Fighting Irish would add a fourth ranked win.
“Dino Babers has done a great job,” coach Brian Kelly. “I think what he’s done here is show a consistency in his approach and player development. They haven’t changed who they are. They’ve stayed the course. This is a team that we saw in 2016—with a lot of similar players from ’16, they’re just better. They’re better on the offensive line, they’re better on the defensive line. The quarterback is a veteran player who has seen it all, and a lot of the credit goes to Dino for building the program up to where it is. They deserve to be where they are–and he’s got good players that have stayed with it.”
Central Florida has not faced a ranked opponent this season with Temple (6-4) and Memphis (6-4) as the biggest wins. Of course, 9-1 Cincinnati in primetime gives UCF a new potential platform tomorrow.
“I think it’s a big moment for our university to have an ABC prime time kick with all those households tuning in across the country,” said White. “Just a huge platform. Obviously, to host College GameDay, we’re really proud to have that program here.
“It’s amazing what this university and this football program have accomplished in just a short time. It’s not just our football program that is young. It’s the entire university. We’re 50 years old. The average age of our alumni base is 35. We’re graduating more kids every year than any other university in the country.”