Bedlam looms, with visions of Jonathan Gray fastballs and that pencil protruding from Sunny Golloway's ball cap. Of Josh Holliday's return and Pistol Pete dancing a jig on the OU dugout.
Of stirred emotions that once led to beanballs and brawls and still carry promise for developing new series heroes and memories.
Yes, Bedlam — finally — looms … next week.
First, however, there's business for both clubs. And how the Sooners and Cowboys go about their business this weekend will go a long way in setting up the bigness of Bedlam 2013.
For Oklahoma, clinging to a percentage-points lead over Baylor and others in the Big 12 standings, this weekend comes with uncertainty: a maiden journey to West Virginia, where the Mountaineers are bucking perception to remain in the race for the conference championship.
A unanimous choice for last place in the league, West Virginia (9-6) sits but one game back of the Sooners (10-5) in the league. The Mountaineers may have an answer for Gray, too, with left-hander Harrison Musgrave carrying back-to-back, Friday-night shutouts and a six-game winning streak into Friday night's opener.
“We played them last year and I thought they had a nice club,” Golloway said. “They were short in just a few areas. So their playing well doesn't really surprise me.
“And when you're expected to finish dead last, you really don't have any pressure on you. I'm excited about this trip.”
Despite the low outside expectations, the Mountaineers have won three of five Big 12 series, including their last two: at Texas and then back home, where they swept previously hot Kansas last weekend.
Golloway welcomed a dose of good news this week, when No. 2 starter Dillon Overton was cleared to pitch Saturday, making a rapid recovery from a concerning elbow injury. And with former reliever Jake Fisher now slotted for a Sunday start, after his outstanding turn as a fill-in for Overton last week, OU's rotation again has a formidable look.
“Great news for Dillon,” Golloway said. “He's feeling really good and we think he's going to be fine. As for Fisher, the three hole has kind of been our Achilles; if we can ever shore that up and get to the point where we feel good about that spot, we'll really be able to make a strong run, I think.”
The Cowboys hope their run has already begun.
OSU carries a five-game winning streak into Lubbock this weekend, with a chance to pad their run against the league's eighth-place club. Texas Tech sits just 6-12 in the conference, although Holliday sees a team still scrapping.
“They beat New Mexico (Tuesday night) and beat OU on Sunday,” Holliday said, “so they definitely haven't checked it in.”
The Cowboys' surge, involving two wins over Nebraska and single wins over Wichita State, Creighton and Rutgers, has provided a needed RPI boost. Coupled with a series win over Kansas State and another midweek victory over Missouri State, OSU has soared from No. 104 in the RPI to No. 49, putting itself back in play for a postseason berth.
Now it's on the Cowboys to polish up the résumé, this weekend and in remaining series against the Sooners and West Virginia sandwiching another clash with Wichita State. The Big 12 Tournament offers another opportunity to make a statement.
“You've got four weeks ahead of you where you get to play against good teams in good venues, with hopefully some great crowds and a conference race down the stretch,” Holliday said. “There's a lot of good baseball ahead of us.
“You want to play well down the stretch. It's an important month for us.”
It starts this weekend, for the Cowboys and Sooners.
And then, Bedlam looms.