Here is my take on what has improved since the day before the season started:
1. We're no longer scared of MAC teams.
2. We now have a QB who can generally run the offense and should only get better.
3. Vince Smith is a potential competent starter at RB next season.
4. Roy Roundtree looks like he'll be better than any receiver we've had since Mario and Adrian left. Darryl Stonum is a legitimate big play threat as a kick returner.
5. The offensive line does not appear to be a liability, with Omameh already appearing to be a solid starter (and Barnum, Washington, and Lewan are potential contributors)
6. Mike Martin has emerged as a possible beast.
7. Craig Roh is ahead of schedule and when bulked up can be solid.
8. Will Campbell should be able to dominate eventually.
9. Linebacking play is piss-poor, but loses only Stevie Brown and can hopefully be upgraded by a better LB coach.
10. Secondary play is also piss-poor, but as Brian pointed out today, we'll have a crowded depth chart at CB, and someone (or more than one person) from that group will be able to switch over to safety and improve the position group.
Basically, I think we were 1-2 LB's and 2 Safeties away from being an 8 win team this year. If we can get that next season from returning players and freshmen, along with replacements for the scant departing seniors/juniors (no NFL yet for Warren, plz), there's no reason to think we can't win 8-9 games next year. That would have been a bad season under Lloyd Carr, but this is what a true transition feels like.