STILLWATER — Sports Illustrated's five-part investigative series alleging multiple examples of misconduct inside Oklahoma State's football program has dominated media coverage this week, including the stories coming from The Oklahoman.
And it has completely overshadowed the fact that the No. 12 Cowboys will face Lamar at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in their home opener at Boone Pickens Stadium.
Under normal circumstances, here are some storylines we would have examined in greater detail heading into the matchup:
SAVANNAH STATE: PART DEUX?
Lamar, a Football Championship Subdivision school in Beaumont, Texas, revived its football program in 2010 and has yet to face a team the caliber of OSU.
Is another 84-0 blowout — where starters were pulled midway through the first quarter — on the way?
Maybe not. But we could see a whole lot of Clint Chelf and Rennie Childs and Seth Jacobs and Jordan Sterns in this one. Third-team quarterback Daxx Garman may even get some snaps.
WELCOME BACK, KEVIN JOHNSON
It's a small world, after all.
Lamar's best player, receiver/returner Kevin Johnson, happens to be an OSU transfer. Johnson spent two years in the OSU program, getting extensive time on special teams as a redshirt freshman in 2011. He likely would have been in the mix at receiver in 2012 before deciding the transfer after spring practice.
But Johnson has thrived at Lamar, earning the Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year award in 2012 after tallying 947 all-purpose yards and 13 total touchdowns. He's already compiling 246 all-purpose yards (74 receiving, 10 punt return, 162 kick return) and two touchdowns through two games this season.
Lamar defensive lineman Joe Okafor, who has three tackles so far this season, is also an OSU transfer.
Former OSU running back Herschel Sims, who transferred to Lamar after he was dismissed from the Cowboys in June 2012 just before being charged with two felony counts of second-degree forgery, is no longer at that school. He transferred to Abilene Chrisitan after leaving Lamar's program in the middle of the 2012 season.
RUN OR PASS?
We've seen two different versions of the OSU offense in the Cowboys' first two games.
Against Mississippi State, the Cowboys ran for 286 yards, including 125 from quarterback J.W. Walsh. Against Texas-San Antonio, Walsh completed 24-of-27 passes for 326 yards and four touchdowns.
Which way will OSU lean against Lamar? Or will we see a healthy blend of the two attacks?
OFFENSIVE LINE SHUFFLE
The offensive line has been hit the hardest by injuries early on, losing projected starting left tackle Devin Davis (knee) for the season before the opener and starting right tackle Daniel Koening (undisclosed) for the UTSA game.
Those blows have shuffled Parker Graham back to left tackle, Chris Grisbhy to right tackle and Travis Cross to right guard against UTSA.
What will Joe Wickline have to piece together Saturday?
OSU put together a dominant performance on defense against Mississippi State and played well against UTSA through three quarters.
But it was clear the Roadrunners had a few athletes on the perimeter that sometimes gave OSU trouble. Lamar will play a spread style on Saturday, as will the majority of the teams OSU will face in the Big 12. It will be interesting to see how the Cowboys adjust and continue to develop that aggressive style in game situations.
As of Monday, the status of starting strong safety Shamiel Gary, who left the UTSA game with an injury, was day-to-day.
If he can't play Saturday, senior Zack Craig (who had a team-high seven tackles and two pass breakups against UTSA) will likely start, while junior Lyndell Johnson and true freshmen Deric Robertson and Jordan Sterns will need become significant contributors.