I like odd (but not completely broken) builds, and am intrigued when I see them, but do like to see them somewhat balanced. Right now I'm considering whether a melee Wizard build is feasible.
If you focus your stats on combat (melee or ranged depending on race), and if most of the spells you take are based on buffing or gaining a situational advantage, (Transmutation, with some Abjuration, in particular), can a Wizard compete with other classes on damage output with a racial weapon? Obviously tricks like an Elven Wizard flying to rain arrows down is interesting in its own right, but I am asking more for capacity to stay relatively close in overall power level to a character of another class at either tanking and/or weapon-based damage output in to the later level ranges.
I do expect it to be less, but I am hoping it isn't too much less.
Post Script: I know that this question may require waiting until the PHB is released and the full spell list and Wizard specialization list are available.
Update: Giving the credit to Wax Eagle as his initial assessment is the best. Analysis of the Abjurer specialization gives me some extra insight that he didn't have at the time and a minor change to include the abjurer allows his answer to be even better. I will note those changes here:
Looking it over, the Abjurer gives some great advantages to hit points via their class abilities, and those advantages can protect another player after a few levels. They will not have the damage output of a fighter with a melee weapon, but they can absorb some serious damage with temp hp granted by specialization power. It appears that the damage output could be house-ruled through a feat or ability that allows the damage discrepancy to balance out, but that is out of the scope of the original intent. If first level is Fighter make an even better tank by granting shield and heavy armor proficiencies. All damage in the late game would need to be focused on by spellcasting, though a focus on touch spells would be in the spirit of the character, and thus still allow them to generate the right feel. There is a feat that allows casting with a shield, and it is worth it conceptually, and doesn't slow down progression much.