Given the responses to my diary post, it is obvious that the good people of the MGoBlog community would like to have a much more detailed discussion of the strength of our opponents in the trenches, and an overall evaluation of their returning talent levels (a granular evaluation of not just how many starters return, but where the talent lies.)
This topic is going to rely heavily on other teams' fans (i.e. our beloved poster Irish.) So hopefully there are still a few of those rational OSU fans left on the board, as well as insightful Nebraska posters, Chicagoans who bleed purple, and fighting Illini. If you follow a team other than Michigan, with the passion of a crazed fan, give us the lowdown here.
To start on Michigan:
Offense was top 5 last year. Transition will not change Denard's impact on the requirement of opposing D's to change their Safety gameplan, pull back the reigns on overly aggressive LBs, etc. The OL is deep, experienced and talented with an athletic TE to complement. If Molk can maintain his health for most of the year, and Lewan can harness his aggression with discipline, this should be one of the top two OL in the conference. WR corps and RB corps are deep; WR may not have a true vertical threat, but Roundtree is reliable and versatile; RB have a grinder in true-soph Hopkins and several speedy backs. Perhaps rational to expect a step back. But this team was poised to become more than "the most dangerous offense between the 20 yard lines." If Denard can make reads with his receivers stacked in the red-zone, this team will take a step forward in scoring (even if total yards fall a bit.) Anything less than a top 10 offense would be a disappointment.
I'll leave the joy of the D to someone else; and of course, flesh out the offense a bit more.