I’m not normally a fan of making bold NCAA Football predictions at this time of year because most of the time there just isn’t enough information out there as to what teams are going to look like for the coming season to make realistic calls.
There is no denying that Ash has had more than his share of ups and downs during his time under center for Texas. In 2011 he was miss and hit while splitting time with Case McCoy, but in 2012 he made some big strides and started hitting more often than missing. He did struggle at times, most notably in the Longhorns’ games against the Kansas Jayhawks and TCU Horned Frogs, and even lost the starting gig for a game to McCoy though that was supposedly due to a lingering injury.
Yet after McCoy proved that he isn’t a whole game QB, Ash got the job back for the bowl game and played admirably completing 21 of 33 passes for 241 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. He even got out of the pocket and ran a little bit, which he hadn’t done in so long that most Texas fans forgot he could do it. Just like with the conclusion of the 2011 season, the end of 2012 has given ‘Horns fans hope for the next campaign.
Ash will be a junior in 2013 and will have both of his top two receivers back along with a stable of crazy good running backs and an improved O-line. With all that weaponry at his disposal, Ash needs to learn to stay calm and play mistake free football while letting his team mates help him out. Ash showed that he is more than capable of being that game manager style QB early in 2012 as he threw 10 TDs and just 1 INT in Texas’ first five games.
Ash’s biggest weapon won’t even be on the field though; he will be the guy calling plays for him. Major Applewhite is now running the Texas offense and if there is anybody who can bring the most out of a quarterback, it is Applewhite. I’m not even going to pretend that Major’s off the field issue which recently came to light will effect Texas in 2013, because it happened four years ago and was immediately dealt with by the UT athletic department. It is old news and a non-issue. What does matter for Texas is that Applewhite is going to make Ash the best QB he can possibly be, which means that Ash will be the best field general in the Big 12.
Take a look around the Big 12 and assess the overall QB situation for a second…are you done? You should be, because there is NOBODY out there that looks better than Ash.
The Oklahoma Sooners will turn to junior Blake Bell who has only thrown the ball 20 times in his college career. Sure the kid is a threat to run with 11 rushing TDs in 2012, but is OU really going to run a Tim Tebow style offense? No. Bell could be really good if he develops his arm, but that won’t happen in 2013.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys have what could be a three way battle at QB between two sophomores and a senior who is lacking in experience.
Casey Pachall is back at TCU after leaving school to deal with off the field issues last year, and I still think it will be a toss-up between Pachall and Trevone Boykin as to who starts in Fort Worth.
The Texas Tech Red Raiders, Baylor Bears, Kansas State Wildcats, and West Virginia Mountaineers will all be breaking in new starters in 2013, while the Iowa State Cyclones and Kansas will be using QBs who saw a decent amount of playing time in 2012 but still have a long way to go. Ash will own the QB position in the Big 12 in 2013.
The competition won’t be nearly as stiff, but don’t look to that as the only reason why Ash will be on top of his conference in 2013. The kid has great talent that we have seen in flashes in the past, and 2013 is the year that he will put it all together.
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