Yes, I know there are many, many differences but there are also some very striking similarities between the two programs, at least from the standpoint of the start of new regimes.
Three years ago Rich Rodriquez led Michigan to their worst record ever, and first losing season since before Bo Schembechler took over in 1969. You can believe that many, many of the blue-bloods were not happy with Senior Rodriguez.
However, now that he's had a few years to get the type of players that fit his type of play, Michigan is now looking at returning to the top of the Big Ten and the country, and Denard Robinson is the talk of the sports world. There are still dire needs on defense, but in the next couple years I strongly suspect you'll see Michigan on a similar level as Oregon now.
So, how does this compare to SJSU you ask? The team RR was left with after Lloyd Carr retired was pitiful. There was a sense of entitlement amongst some of the upperclassman that had been instilled that almost assured them of a starting position over more talented underclassmen. As such the work-ethic was lacking. Also, Carr had pretty much dialed it in since about the 2002 season. He wanted to go out with one last big title and bowl win, but he left more and more of the responsibility of running the team to his assistants. Tomey was very similar in the regard and the cupboard left for Coach Mac was pretty bare.
With that in mind we look back to that dreadful 2007 Michigan season and just think, "wow, how can that program put such a crappy team on the field?" When you look at what was left, plus some of the players who were expecting the entitlements that had been the status quo, it's easy to see why the clusterfuk of that season occurred. Many people with shortsighted outlooks screamed that RR couldn't coach, despite his stellar resume.
Coach Mac needs time, period. Yes, he does lack head coaching experience but he does have a record of building success, and his pedigree is very impressive - he has some very good guidance in his background and his phonebook.
It takes time for a system to develop, for a staff to get the kind of players to play in that system, and for them to become accustomed to it. SJSU doesn't yet have that, as Michigan didn't in 2007. Recruiting is the lifeblood of a football program and Mac has already shown he can do that. It may not happen next year, but as in 2008 for Michigan there will be improvement. Years 3-5 will be the time to really look at the program. If nothing's changed, they guy can't do it. However, I strongly suspect we won't be worrying about that.