It goes like this. Recent USC quarterbacks in particular grow up with a silver football in their mouth. Not all. But many. They grow up pampered both at home and in their sport. They only time they experience adversity is when the CD player on their dad's BMW doesn't work.
This is part stereotype, part unfair but also part accurate, according to several NFL scouts. "The feeling is that some of them are coddled," said the scout, "and mentally soft."
Then when they get to the toughest of sports leagues, their minds crumble under the weight. At least, that's the theory.
The Weather Theory
"The sheer number of USC quarterbacks who have come to the NFL and struggled is alarming," said Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com senior analyst who also writes for CBSSports.com. "Because many of these quarterbacks possessed the physical traits to be successful, some scouts believe the warm weather and big man on campus mentality makes Southern Cal passers less prepared for the rigors of the NFL."
The warm weather. This is the most believed theory by scouts. It contributes to making the quarterbacks soft, the theory goes. There are holes in this theory, of course, especially since Troy Aikman played in the same weather at UCLA but still made it to the NFL Hall of Fame.
However, remember the list of schools that produced quarterbacks that appeared in multiple Super Bowls, maybe the toughest thing to do in sports -- the University of Delaware, California, Maryland, UCLA, Alabama, Notre Dame, BYU, Stanford, Purdue, and Washington State. Five of those schools -- Delaware, Maryland, Notre Dame, BYU, and Purdue -- play in cold weather. Some brutally so. Washington State, located in Pullman, has averages in December of 24 degrees for a low and almost eight inches of snow.
Not scientific but also far from insignificant.
The Great Coaches Theory
Two words: Norm Chow. He was an assistant at USC and throughout his college career helped to develop an army of quarterbacks, including Steve Young. He's one of the brightest offensive minds in college football history. At USC, over the decades, the Trojan coaching staff has been loaded with assistants and head coaches like Chow.
"USC has had so much coaching talent it's become a system school," said one NFL scout. "Then they have to leave that system."
The Uber-talent theory
This is one of the most palpable theories. While many college quarterbacks were surrounded with great talent throughout history, USC took that to a level surpassed by few. Rob Johnson played with Keyshawn Johnson and Tony Boselli. Leinart played with Reggie Bush. Every USC quarterback seems to have had a fast 6-foot-8 wide receiver and elite running back. USC quarterbacks played with Heisman winners Charles White and Marcus Allen.
The belief is that Trojan quarterbacks are surrounded by so many great players, and many times are drafted by the worst NFL teams, they don't know how to elevate the players around them because in college they were always the ones being elevated.
Now comes another USC quarterback to the NFL. Barkley went in the fourth round but the expectations aren't so lessened. People will be watching not just to see if he can replace Vick, but witness if he can break a nasty curse.
Article starts with all the obvious evidence that USC QBs suck in the NFL, which I skipped to get to the real question: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/2220 ... -best-pros