Oklahoma State couldn't have dialed up a better slot for a week off, with time to regroup not only from its first loss, but an emotionally trying time in the aftermath of a tragedy that still resonates across campus.
The Cowboys needed some time to step away and gather themselves.
And now they have just the thing to get them revved back up: Bedlam.
The stakes remain high, with a Big 12 championship and Fiesta Bowl berth within grasp. And a BCS title game shot dangles still for OSU, if just barely.
As we chug toward this always anticipated matchup, here are five developing Bedlam story lines for Cowboys fans to consider:
1. Baylor Blueprint. On a national radio show last week, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III said the Bears aimed to attack the middle of the Oklahoma defense – most notably at the tackles and safeties.
The Cowboys and Bears are not identical in their offensive approach – with RG3 and Brandon Weeden different, if ultra successful quarterbacks – yet their spread concepts are similar. And there are always things to be learned and borrowed.
Baylor fired away at the Sooner secondary, with RG3 posting a single-game passing record of 479 yards, with four touchdowns. Bears back Terrance Ganaway ran for two touchdowns – up the gut.
Justin Blackmon is always in play as a secondary scorcher, but a squishy middle could clear the way for big games by Tracy Moore and Josh Cooper.
2. Rush to Judgment. OSU's run game, once a staple, has slowed of late. Iowa State surprisingly put the clamps on the Cowboys, to the tune of 60 yards on 18 attempts. The rushing total was tempered by Kansas State as well.
Have teams, particularly the Cyclones, exposed an approach to defending the Cowboys? Or is it simply the result of Joseph Randle's fumbling woes taking him out of play?
OSU needs a balanced attack to fun full throttle against one of the better defenses on the schedule.
3. Bell Ringing. The Sooners have broken out a new wrinkle in their offense – to rousing results – with backup quarterback Blake Bell adding a run-element near the goal line.
Bell's nine rushing touchdowns – all coming in the past four games – are tied for the team lead.
The way Kansas State's similarly styled Collin Klein gashed the Cowboys in the QB run game, OU may be considering expanding the “Belldozer” package for Bell this week. Either way, it's something extra to consume valued practice time throughout the week.
Protection Plan. When Weeden has time – which is pretty regularly – he can pick apart any defense with weapons galore at the wide receiver spots and out of the backfield.
With Sooner defensive ends Ronnell Lewis reportedly out and the other end, Frank Alexander, banged up a bit, protecting Weeden becomes much easier.
If the Sooners are forced to gamble to pressure Weeden, it could come at a heavy cost.
Kick It Up. The Cowboys have long carried a special teams edge into most games. Does it still exist, heading into a matchup where every advantage counts?
They're getting minimal from punt returns, even with Justin Blackmon taking some turns back deep. And it's been a while since Justin Gilbert provided excitement with a long kickoff runback.
Quinn Sharp remains a major weapon on kickoffs and punting, but how's his confidence after a costly field goal miss at Iowa State?
OSU has all the pieces in place to dominate the kicking game. It's just time they reappear.