To me the first component in analyzing any team's upcoming season is its schedule-- who do you play, when and where. Let's try Big Ten football this fall-- Illinois has the easiest schedule-- eight home games and the four road games, all in the Big Ten, include Indiana, Purdue and Minnesota. If Illinois has anything the Illini should have a good record.
Michigan has eight home games, the first five at home before heading to Michigan State. Ohio State is a home game at the end, but Nebraska also plays in Ann Arbor the week previous. Michigan State's five road games all look tough-- the finale is at dangerous Northwestern. Road games at Ohio State, Iowa, Notre Dame, and Nebraska shouldn't be cakewalks either, right?
And Ohio State's schedule is tough with road games at Miami of Florida and Nebraska besides Michigan at season's end. If interim coach Luke Fickell wants to keep his head coaching job in Columbus he'll need good efforts every week because this to me looks like Ohio State's toughest schedule in years.