End-of-season clarity is one of the benefits of the current Big 12 football scheduling model.
With a round-robin format, in which every team in the conference plays every other team, season finales provide a ton evidence with which to compare the combatants.
OSU and OU play Saturday in Stillwater, and they've played the exact same eight teams.
There are variances. While both played West Virginia and TCU early, and both played Baylor in November, OU played Texas early and OSU played Texas late. And OSU played Kansas State early, while OU played Kansas State late.
Also, the Bedlam rivals played home/road opposites, with the exception of TCU. Both hosted the Horned Frogs.
But the eight games against the same opponents provide lots of clarity on how the Bedlam game might.
So we take a look at a variety of statistical trends that occurred over the course of the Big 12 season.
BENEFITS OF CLINT CHELF
The numbers of Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh are remarkably similar through 11 games.
Chelf has completed 112 of 199 passes, a percentage of .563, with 1,592 yards, 14 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Walsh has completed 113 of 190 passes, a percentage of .595, with 1,333 yards, nine touchdowns and five interceptions.
Chelf was inefficient in his early starts but has played superbly down the stretch — a combined 35 of 47 against Texas and Baylor.
And the difference between Chelf and Walsh — and the early Chelf and the recent Chelf — is in big plays. The Cowboys are getting much bigger plays out of their pass game with Chelf.
The last two games, Chelf has completed nine of 15 on downfield throws. In Chelf's first three games since being reinserted, Chelf completed just four of 16 downfield throws, with two interceptions.
But Chelf was better against Kansas (4-of-9) on deep throws, better yet against Texas (2-of-4) and outstanding against Baylor (7-of-11).
And the biggest recipient of Chelf's deep balls has been Charlie Moore, who has four big plays the last two games and six downfield catches total from Chelf.
Tracy Moore, too, has benefited from Chelf's presence, with downfield catches that have gone for 21, 56, 41 and 46 yards.
And the freshmen receivers have gotten in on the action, too, with Jhajuan Seales snagging four downfield throws from Chelf and Marcel Ateman two.
BENEFITS OF TREVOR KNIGHT
Bob Stoops says the Sooners have been running the ball well most of this season, regardless of who has quarterbacked the Sooners. Maybe so.
But Trevor Knight's re-emergence as the quarterback has invigorated the OU run game. And not just because of Knight's ability to run.
Knight has quarterbacked the equivalent of 31/2 games. And the tailback production is much better with Knight taking the snaps than it was with Blake Bell taking the snaps.
Knight has handed off to Brennan Clay 62 times in those 14 quarters. Bell handed off to Clay 72 times in 30 quarters. Clay has gained 457 yards with Knight; that's 7.4 yards per carry. Clay gained 386 yards with Bell, 5.4 yards per carry. A two-yard per carry difference. That's huge.
Similar numbers with Damien Williams, who no longer is with the squad. With Knight, Williams carried 42 times for 252 yards, 6.0 yards per carry. With Bell, Williams carried 72 times for 301 yards, 4.2 yards per carry. Again, almost a two-yard per carry difference.
Roy Finch's numbers do not vary so much between quarterbacks. With Knight, 14 carries, 82 yards, 5.9. With Bell, 44 carries, 265 yards, 6.0.
But clearly, Knight's ability to run the option has opened the running lanes for his tailbacks.
SOONERS vs. BALANCED SPREADS
In recent years, Big 12 offenses have built a reputation of much passing, high scoring and great quarterbacking. This season, that kind of attack has been in short supply.
Texas Tech still plays that way. Baylor does, too, but the Bears run the ball so well, they don't even look at past Big 12 offenses.
The three teams tied at the top of the Big 12 standings – OSU, Baylor, Texas -- run a similar style. What's best described as a balanced spread. West Virginia tries to, though the Mountaineers have been mostly ineffective.
So how have the Sooners fared against the balanced spreads?
* West Virginia: In a 16-7 victory, the Sooners allowed 169 yards on just 24 runs, while giving up 218 yards on 21-of-41 passing.
Dreamius Smith's 75-yard TD run accounted for a big chunk of West Virginia's yardage. Quarterback Paul Millard largely was ineffective throwing the ball.
Lesson: Not much can be gleaned, since West Virginia proved to be so limited offensively this season.
* Texas: In a 36-20 loss, the Sooners were hurt by UT's running game and occasional big pass plays.
The Longhorns rushed for 255 yards. Tailbacks Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown each went over 100 yards, and quarterback Case McCoy threw deep ball of 59 and 38 yards for touchdowns.
Lesson: Texas ran 60 of its 82 snaps. Establishing the run was excellent strategy.
* Baylor: In a 41-12 loss, the Sooners actually stood up to the Bears fairly well.
Baylor wore down OU and ended up rushing for 255 yards on 54 carries, but the Sooners held Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty to 204 yards on 13-of-26 passing.
Lesson: A big lead makes it easier to commit to the running game, but Baylor and Texas combined to run 70 percent of the time against OU. Expect the Cowboys to do the same.
COWBOYS vs. OPTION OFFENSES
The Sooner offense has found some direction the last two games with the return of Trevor Knight to quarterback.
OU has rushed for 405 yards against Iowa State and 301 yards against Kansas State. So the Sooners' shotgun option will test OSU's high-riding defense.
How have the Cowboys fared against option offenses this season? The Big 12 sports three offenses that could qualify.
* Kansas State: The Wildcats platoon quarterbacks Daniel Sams and Jake Waters, and Sams in particular is the optioneer.
In a 33-29 loss to OSU, Sams quarterbacked all but 21/2 series. The Wildcats had moderate success on the ground, 144 yards, but threw for 192. Sams had his most productive passing game of the season, 15 of 21 for 181 yards. He's come nowhere close to that any other game.
Lesson: The Cowboys seemed committed to stopping the run. Against OU, Knight be dared to pass.
* TCU: When Casey Pachall was injured, the Frogs went with an option offense run by Trevone Boykin.
In a 24-10 loss to OSU, the Frogs rushed for just 126 yards, but Boykin completed 17 of 35 passes for 188 yards and three interceptions. That's his second-highest yardage total of the six games in which he was the primary QB. But the three interceptions comprise almost half his season total (seven).
Lesson: The trend seems clear. OSU likes to make a running quarterback throw.
* Iowa State: The Cyclones used both Sam Richardson and Grant Rohach, in a 58-27 loss to OSU.
Richardson is more of the runner, and he burned the Cowboys with a 51-yard gain. But the Cyclones rushed for just 154 yards total.
Lesson: Not really all that much to learn when playing against the Iowa State offense.