STILLWATER — It's finally time for Bedlam.
After a bye week over Thanksgiving weekend, Oklahoma State will host Oklahoma as the clear favorite in a Saturday matinee showdown, where the Cowboys can capture their second Big 12 title in three seasons.
Here are five early OSU storylines to monitor throughout the week:
How does the coaching staff utilize the bye week?
Two years ago, the Cowboys were coming off their stunning loss at Iowa State when a bye week over Thanksgiving helped coaches dial up a Bedlam game plan that included an aggressive, blitz-heavy defense and a run-heavy offensive attack.
What will OSU do with the extra time this year?
It's certainly not far-fetched to think more creativity is on the way, particularly after the Cowboys ran out two-tight-end sets and handed the ball to fullback Kye Staley seven times against Baylor.
It's a bit unrealistic to expect Cowboy quarterback Clint Chelf to duplicate his historic performance against the Bears in Bedlam.
But it's not unrealistic to expect a senior playing in his last home game to play well.
Last season in Norman, Chelf completed 19-of-37 passes for 253 yards, one touchdown and one interception. That game is also where he showed his first glimpses of being an effective runner, tallying 63 yards on 12 carries, including an early 38-yard quarterback draw. He even had a 36-yard catch and run in that game.
Does offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich opt to utilize Chelf's legs or arm against the Sooners?
The Cowboys don't have a receiver that can burn a secondary quite like Kansas State's Tyler Lockett — though Jhajuan Seales is the most likely candidate to fill that type of role. But the Cowboys have a greater variety of weapons.
And Chelf's dynamite passing performance against Baylor — 19-of-25 for 370 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions — shows OU it can't just focus on stopping the Cowboys' rushing attack.
Sooner quarterback Trevor Knight will bring plenty of playmaking ability with his legs. And the quarterback run game is an area the Cowboy defense has had some troubles defending at times this season.
Kansas State's Daniel Sams finished with 118 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries back on Oct. 5, while Iowa State's Sam Richardson had 64 yards on 11 carries (including a 51-yarder straight up the gut on a zone-read play) before being knocked out of that game before halftime with an injury.
OSU did a solid job defending Baylor's Bryce Petty's legs, however, as the bulk of his 46 rushing yards came on the 27-yard scamper where he tripped at the goal line.
Watch out for Cowboy linebacker Shaun Lewis' role Saturday. He may be asked to spy Knight.
On the mend
Cornerback Justin Gilbert and running back Desmond Roland, who were both slowed by shoulder injuries against Baylor, said last week they expect to be fully healthy for Bedlam. By then, Josh Stewart (ankle) should be back to full strength, as well.
The status of reserve running back Rennie Childs, who took a nasty hit late in the Baylor game, remains up in the air.
Boone Pickens Stadium provided a special atmosphere against Baylor, as the largest crowd in school history was raucous from the get-go.
Can the Cowboy faithful bring the same rowdy energy for an 11 a.m. kickoff? And if so, how does that impact the game?