In college football, there is nothing that compares with the hype and scrutiny that comes with playing the quarterback position. Signal-callers at every university are expected to lead their team to wins and in leadership.
Inevitably, unrealistic expectations are heaped on many players before they ever step foot on a college campus to ever play their first collegiate game.
There are many great quarterbacks in the college game today, and there are a large group of average quarterbacks.
Also, there are underachievers or quarterbacks we all dub overrated. Today, I am going to count down the top 10 most overrated quarterbacks for 2010.
Some have won some big games and lacked consistency. Others have yet to prove that they can compete or develop in to top-notch quarterbacks.
The one thing that every one of them has in common is that they are a product of the fan and media machine surrounding their programs and nationally, has each of them overrated.
In 2010, Jacory Harris is expected to do something he has never done before in his short college career: be the best. Harris was a borderline decision whether to place on the 10 most overrated quarterbacks list because he was only a sophomore in 2009.
There is no denying that Harris is an exciting player to watch, and that he has an immense amount of talent. But Harris also has a number of things he has yet to prove.
In 2009, Harris finished the season as the No. 32 quarterback in Div 1-A in overall quarterback rating. His numbers where OK as he threw for 3,352 yards and nearly a 60 percent completion percentage, but he also threw 17 INT/24 TD and took 34 sacks.
What is alarming about Harris' numbers is that he has not learned to get rid of the ball in bad situations, and that he often times tries to make a play when he should be protecting the ball.
Harris' struggles with consistency and making the right decisions is one that needs to be vastly improved in 2010 for the Hurricanes and himself to reach their expectations.
Next on the top 10 most overrated quarterbacks is Virginia Tech Hokie Tyrod Taylor.
Taylor was a five-star rated QB in the 2007 recruiting class, and drew immediate comparisons to past Virginia Tech great Mike Vick with his ability to run and throw the football.
In 2009, Taylor threw for a mere 2,311 yards and 13 TDs. He took care of the ball only throwing five INT. Because Taylor simply is kept reined in, he finished with the No. 14 overall quarterback rating in 2009, but that position is off by at least 30 spots to where he truly stacks up with his fellow Div 1-A quarterback peers.
Taylor enters his senior year having yet to live up to expectations, and has not shown the development in his time at VT that would have me believe he is primed for a breakout 2010 season.
It seems every year the South Carolina Gamecocks are a fashionable dark horse pick to make a run at the SEC East. That probably has to do with the fact that their coach is more overrated than their quarterback, but we can save that for another day.
Leading the Gamecocks behind center entering his junior season is Stephen Garcia. Garcia put up some numbers in 2009, but numbers do not always tell the story. With his decent yardage numbers, Garica was only rated near the bottom of the quarterbacks in the SEC and the entire country at No. 88.
This poor rating is due to what Garcia can do on a consistent basis over his short career: making one or two costly bonehead plays when you need to make a good one.
This uncanny ability has lead the '0l Ball Coach to toss his visor and clipboard on a fairly regular basis.
In 2010, Garcia is being picked by some experts to be a breakout player. It is again a reason many are predicting the Gamecocks to have a chance in the SEC East with Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee, during periods of transition.
Like the years gone by, I see Garcia and South Carolina playing too about the same level they have shown since Spurrier stepped on campus; they will be competitive but they also will be the same '0l South Carolina.
In 2009, Jordan Jefferson was supposed to breakout and lead LSU as a contender in the SEC West, but instead he failed to consistently show he could hit open receivers and make big plays.
Jefferson seemed primed and ready for 2009 after he finished the 2008 season with great promise for the Tigers.
His numbers will not amaze you, but they are not awful. He finished 2009 as the No. 38 overall rated quarterback. But his worst stat was that he routinely would hold the ball too long or try to make something out of nothing, resulting an alarming 35 sacks.
In 2010, LSU nation expects to contend with Alabama and Arkansas in the SEC West due in large part to Jefferson.
Being an SEC follower you tend to hear extreme things about LSU fans (nearly all of them are true).
In the case of Jefferson, LSU fans have put the weight of the world on this young man, and unless he improves leaps and bounds in a large array of areas, he will disappoint the LSU faithful.
In Texas college football is huge, and the Texas A&M program is one of great tradition.
I have had the opportunity to witness their fan base on numerous occasions ranging from the old SWC days, and most recently, at the 2009 Arkansas-TAMU matchup in Dallas.
The Aggie fans have almost a blind faith and love for their team. The midnight yell practices, and the precision with which they cheer for their team is unfortunately not matched with their play on the field.
In 2009, the Aggies finished 6-7 after a bowl thumping by Georgia.
The Aggies have a solid group of running backs and some of the most fertile recruiting grounds in all of the country. But the one position that A&M does not have, contrary to many major analysts, is a quarterback.
Jerrod Johnson had nice numbers running the spread formation at A&M in '09, but when you take a close look at what he did on the field, you can see he is a complete product of the system.
That system failed in nearly every big game the Aggies played in 2009. Aggie fans will argue to the death that Johnson is a great quarterback and a member of the Big 12 top quarterbacks.
If only numbers were the measuring stone than his 3,500 plus passing yards in 2009 would make a good case, but Johnson lacks in the most important category of all for a quarterback—leadership.
In 2009, Nebraska reached 10 wins. In the Big 12 championship game, they gave Texas all they could handle before losing 13-12.
The Huskers return senior QB Zac Lee, and he has become the man on campus to many for apparently helping lead the Nebraska football program back to being contenders.
Unfortunately, three of Nebraska's losses in 2009 can be attributed to multiple interception games by Lee at inopportune moments.
Lee finished the season as the No. 68 overall rated quarterback in the country. He threw for only 2,143 yards, 14 TD, and 10 INT.
Much like his counterparts thus far on this top 10 countdown, Lee has not shown the ability to learn from his mistakes over his career and continues to try to make plays that are not available.
This entry on the countdown should come with an asterisk. Masoli has been banned for the year because of off-the-field incidents.
But this is not the time or place to attack the Oregon program or a young man's character. No, this is the time to point out that Masoli is one of the most overrated quarterbacks in the country on one of the most overrated teams in the country.
Shut yo mouth right?
I can't help it. Masoli "led" Oregon to the Rose Bowl where they lost to Ohio State by navigating through one of the weakest BCS conferences in 2009, the PAC-10.
Masoli had one 300-yard passing game, and the Ducks relied heavily on the fact that week in and week out; they played against teams with little to no defense.
Masoli finished in the bottom half in the overall quarterback ratings, and he merely played his part in the Oregon system that is highlighted by their running game. As a true quarterback, Masoli has limited potential at the collegiate level, and little to no potential at the NFL level.
The No. 3 most overrated quarterback for 2010 was likely the No. 1 most overrated quarterback in 2009, and he was only a freshman.
Matt Barkley was a Gatorade Player of the Year, and he beat out two veteran backup blue chip quarterbacks for the starting spot at USC. Big deal right?
The hype machine following USC football and the quarterback battle in 2009 was only a precursor to what was a sub-par season followed by Pete Carroll leaving USC for the Seattle Seahawks, and USC rehiring Lane Kiffin.
Media giants such as ESPN even had "experts" throw Barkley's name out early in the season as a Heisman watch lister.
What happened is what anyone with half a brain could see coming from a mile away: Barkley could not handle the pressure of being a freshman starter for USC. He threw one less interception than touchdowns in his 2009 campaign, and that was while he was being held back into a game manager role.
In 2010, Barkley has a long way to go to prove he is worth the hype, and until that point, he will be a mainstay on any shortlist of overrated quarterbacks.
The runner-up for most overrated quarterback in the country does not get a prize, other than needing to know that the decision to make him No. 1 or No. 2 literally came down to a coin toss.
Jake Locker of Washington has been projected time and time again as a top draft pick at the quarterback position. He has great arm strength, and NFL scouts seem to drool over him.
Rating Locker a top QB and drafting him early is great if you want to be wrong.
Locker has proven nothing over his career at Washington, and has resided among the bottom half of quarterbacks in overall efficiency his entire collegiate career.
The highlight of his career was helping Washington upset USC last season, but that was before it was evident that USC was not their typical selves.
Locker has not come close to leading what was a once-proud Washington program to a winning season. His best chance comes in 2010 when Oregon is under turmoil and USC is in transition. But if his history tells us anything, then high expectations will surely fall short for Locker and the Huskies.
That is right. The No. 1 most overrated quarterback for 2010 is none other than Terrelle Pryor of THE Ohio State Buckeyes.
OSU fans have anointed Pryor as the next coming the moment he chose them in his much drawn-out recruiting process (you can bet your bottom dollar they would have trashed him had he chose MI or PSU).
Pryor stepped onto the OSU campus an immediate star, and he has stayed in that light through his first two seasons at OSU (and likely will regardless of how he plays).
It is not known why Pryor is struggling to develop as a QB at OSU, but many believe it was because he was able to rely on his legs to make plays at such a high rate in high school.
At the collegiate level, Pryor has not shown the development necessary to become an elite quarterback.
His overall 2009 quarterback rating was the worst of this countdowns top 3 most overrated quarterbacks, and to call his offensive numbers pedestrian would be an understatement.
But the main reason Pryor is the most overrated quarterback in the nation is because with all the facts and stats out in the open, he will continue to get more hype and love than other quarterback on this list.
I expect to see the same from Pryor in 2010 with the possibility for a little improvement, but the hype machine and expectations on Pryor will be higher than ever before.