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Ohio State has been through a rough 18-or-so months.
From the Tattoogate scandal to the forced resignation of Jim Tressel to the suspension and eventual flight from campus of Terelle Pryor, the Ohio State football program has been through a year of hell.
Is it any wonder the Buckeyes finished 6-7 (3-5) last season?
Ohio State will be facing a USC-esque season of sanctions in 2012, which will end without a championship, without a bowl, and without much recognition.
But that won't stop Ohio State from being Ohio State.
With 19 combined starters returning this season, expect the Bucks to relish their task of spoiling the seasons of their Big Ten opponents.
An unlikely leader has stepped forward in Columbus in Braxton Miller.
At first, he seemed utterly unprepared for the starting role at one of the biggest football schools in the nation. But before long, his shaky presence in the pocket transformed into the type of scarlet and gray swag we've come to expect.
Miller, just a sophomore, is emerging as the future of Ohio State football. He's suffered through a losing season—a rarity in Columbus—and he'll suffer through the a sanction-laden 2012 season. But he's young enough to emerge on the other side, better for the experience.
And unlike Ohio State quarterbacks of the past, Miller seems to be settling into the role as team leader without allowing his mouth to do the talking.
His plain, matter-of-fact style with the media is a refreshing change for an Ohio State signal caller, and it's probably exactly what the program needs right now.
Miller may be a little young to be making a swag list, but take this as a sign of things to come; Miller could lead Ohio State through the dark tunnel into the bright lights of national glory as an upperclassman, and Ohio field will hear again the Buckeye... swag.