Oakland Raiders Are an Object Lesson for Some College Students, So Please Win!

Two teams are the center of my love for sports: the Oakland Raiders and the college team, Texas Southern University (TSU) Tigers. Both teams were struggling in 2007.

Some subjects are considered tough. Mathematics is one of those subjects. Since 2007, a Texas professor has been designing lessons using NFL data and some college football data to illustrate the power and utility of mathematics in the real world.

In 2008, both targeted teams struggled. Again, in 2009, both teams struggled.

In 2010, the future looked very bright for the Oakland Raiders. Even the media saw a difference in the way the new players were selected. Things were looking up.

Suddenly the researcher who is a two-year college professor saw an opportunity to teach an object lesson. The lesson was that a man can change, a team can change and students can change.

On the one hand, Texas Southern University looked like they were headed to a championship. That's right, and they are on their way in just a few more days. A college team did change. It's been 42 years since TSU has come close to a championship.

Something happened to the beloved NFL team, the Oakland Raiders. Suddenly the pattern of losses returned, and it was difficult to explain to the students. After all, the object lesson was that a team can change and go from losing to winning in a consistent pattern.

It looked like the pattern was deterministic, but lately it seems more like "chaos."

The data does not lie. The discussions are becoming more complicated. The team that showed so much potential and promise is slipping back to its old ways, losing back-to-back games rather than having back-to-back wins.

How does the professor face those students, most of whom rather cheer for a Texas team in the first place?

Today, one of the students who loves the Oakland Raiders proudly wore his Raider gear. He hopes for a victory on...

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