A big factor has been the removal of the dominant behemoth of Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United. They were either champions or runners-up in 18 out of the 21 Prem seasons he was in charge (came 3rd in the other three).
Also Chelsea and Wenger's Arsenal have staggered. If Guardiola and Conte have a hard time adjusting to English football, and Wenger continues to struggle, the opening will still be there.
People going on about how long we've been 'stuck' in the Championship and how marvellous other clubs are that have been both above and below us in that time.
Here is a table showing the average position in the English football system of all the teams in the current Championship over the whole period since we were relegated back into it in 2002. We're pretty much on a par with many of our direct rivals (the likes of Burnley, Derby, Cardiff), tho we lose out to those teams who have only recently come down following extended stays in the Prem (e.g. Fulham, Bolton). We're a lot better off than Brighton or Hull, however.
Since 1st January: Goals conceded - ranked joint 6th at 1.0 goals per game (best is Burnley on 0.6, worst Bolton on 2.16) Goals scored - ranked joint 22nd at 0.79 goals per game (best is Brighton on 2.0, worst Forest on 0.68)
Comparator for today's game: Ipswich defence 1.0, attack 0.79 Boro defence 0.8, attack 1.3 Therefore the balance of probabilities suggests something in the order of 1 - 0 or maybe 2 - 0 to Boro.
Just to say what a great bloke and an excellent speaker. If you ever get the chance to hear him talk - about ITFC, football in general (both past and present), personalities of the game he's known and played with, Escape To Victory - do it.
The Football League programme on Channel 5: Got rid of the pointless audience, sat everybody down, Iwelumo in as a regular rather than Virgo and the often-mumbling other player-pundits, stopped mixing up the divisions.