This has got to be one of the harder seasons to predict given the amount of returning starters, an easier schedule, a new coaching staff, an emphasis on defense, returning starting QB for the first time in a while, etc.
I'd be willing to bet that the improved defense (top 60 at least when all is said and done), will make up for the potential lag on the offensive side of the ball. If Matt Wile comes in and is a tenth of as advertised, that makes two of three phases improved leaving the offense as the deciding factor for the season. Because I see Denard really growing into something special as the season goes on, I see a 9 win season at worst (including bowl the game; 9-3 bowl game loss or 8-4 bowl game win). I think the crop of 6-6 and 7-5 regular season Big Ten teams from last year are mostly all on the rise, while Wisconsin, OSU, and MSU will likely falter. The league will be fairly balanced I think.
I do see the Notre Dame game as dangerous because it's so early, but hopefully the festive atmosphere and the tribute to Desmond will inspire the team to beat the Irish for a third straight year. I think Hoke's got a good shot at beating OSU and an even better chance at beating MSU. Nebraska is hard to guage with them being new to the league.
Should be a very exciting season though.