Ironically, Skyrim is the first game where Unarmed doesn't completely blow.
Unarmed can hit as hard as a Daedric Sword with 100 skill and all the relevant damage perks without Enchanting. Yeah, it doesn't do as well as enchanted, smithed weapon damage, but it also doesn't require the same investment either.
In the other games, Unarmed results in garbage damage no matter what. In Oblivion, Hand to Hand was the equivalent of an 11.5 rated unenchanted weapon. That's like using the second worst longsword for the entire game.