Absolutely no competition here on the Longhorns team. Ash has as much to prove as about any player in the Big 12, much less on Texas' roster. The Longhorns' 2012 season derailed more because of defensive shortcomings -- missed tackles and an inability to stop the run top that list -- but Ash has to be much better if Texas is going to win a Big 12 title or reach a BCS bowl.
He doesn't need to be Colt McCoy or Vince Young. This Texas team doesn't need a Heisman candidate to be a Big 12 contender or even sniff the national title race, but Ash's late-season slide hurt the Longhorns quite a bit. He struggled mightily against Kansas and did the same a few weeks later against TCU, though it was later revealed he suffered a rib injury that explained the second benching. He didn't return against Kansas State, but engineered a second-half surge in a strong bowl win against Oregon State.
Simply put: Texas won't win the Big 12 if Ash completes fewer than 50 percent of his passes in three games next year like he did last year. He has to eliminate those kinds of games. For Ash, it's about proving he can play like he did against Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Texas Tech and West Virginia. If he does and the defense improves, Texas is going to be an absolute load next season. Beating them will be tough for anyone, anywhere. For the most part, Ash fixed the turnover issues last season that were a huge issue as a freshman in 2011. Can he fix the inconsistency issues heading into his junior season? He's the Big 12's most experienced quarterback now, and Texas' title hopes depend on him.