American college football might satisfy the literal requirement of "amateur" athletics, but the players who make up the sport are subject to a degree of scrutiny, pressure and lack of anonymity that most professional athletes would feel sorry for.
This holds doubly, triply and in some cases 10 times more true for the stars of college football, who do not get coddled with the same gentle hand a typical adult reporter would use with a typical student-athlete.
For proof of this, look no further than the Johnny Manziel circus at SEC media days last season. Can you imagine the pressure he was playing under—as an unpaid athlete, no less—knowing that that many people were paying attention to his every waking move?
Manziel is gone to the NFL, but there are still plenty of college football players facing unrealistic expectations in 2014. This can happen for myriad reasons, but the main ones include being counted on for team success, being counted on for individual success, being compared to previous superstars and (for young players) pedigree as a prospect.
Each case is different in its own way, but they are all the same in that the players involved have preposterous things to live up to.
Note: This piece is best read with Billy Joel on loop in the background.