STILLWATER — If the college football media were a 12-year-old boy, Oklahoma State would be the girl he met at camp. Pick up any preseason publication or browse any college football Web site, and you’ll see that it’s a full-blown case of summer love.
The Cowboys, coming off one of the most successful seasons in program history at 9-4, have become one of college football’s most popular subjects for preseason hype. So the question becomes: how will they handle it? The Pokes dealt with some national hype last season, but nothing like this. It didn’t arrive until early October, when OSU won at Missouri. From there, OSU jumped into the top 10 and drew the attention that comes with such a ranking. But the hype never lasted more than a week at a time leading up to a big game, and faded after the blowout loss at Texas Tech. The talk of a potentially great 2009 season at Oklahoma State started virtually from the second the Holiday Bowl ended in December. Of the major preseason college football magazines that began hitting store shelves earlier this month, only one — Phil Steele’s College Football Preview — projected the Cowboys outside the top 10. Quarterback Zac Robinson, running back Kendall Hunter and receiver Dez Bryant all appear in preseason lists of Heisman Trophy contenders. Left tackle Russell Okung’s name is tossed around at the top of 2010 NFL Draft projections. "You have to address it with your players,” said OSU assistant coach Doug Meacham, whose tight end group is made up of all underclassmen. "You can’t avoid the feeling that you like how it sounds when someone is saying nice things about you. "You have to be able to handle this amount of positive press.