CURIOUS INDEX, 1/25/2010

He's the Genius of Love (and losing money.) Mike Hamilton's fine leadership and superb coaching hires put the Tennessee athletic program in the red for the first time since 2005. This would all be so much easier if he only had a brain.

The good news is that they get $800K back from Lane Kiffin over the next three years for leaving early, a hefty sum Kiffin will pay back with long hours at the Gamestop.

Mike Hamilton is not the only MC 900 Foot Jesus. Bill Byrne came under fire in uncomfortable fashion in an audit of A&M's finances, and if you want your uncomfortable raw and unadulterated by spice, get it from the rumbly and indignant voice of Gene Stallings himself:

"Are we going to live within the budget? We’ve been asked to reduce things all over the university," said Regent Gene Stallings, a former Texas A&M football coach. "How did it get so far off?"

Jeff Toole, the new chief financial officer hired in July for the athletic department, said he wasn’t there when the problems began.

Stallings didn’t skip a beat.

"The guy sitting to your right can tell you. I’ll ask Bill."

Byrne's response to questions of fiscal irregularities: bats. As always, the answer has something to do with bats.

Or options three and four. Team Speed Kills gets Manichean over the Urban Meyer Retirement/Non-retirement saga, something well-charted by Jon Bois over the weekend at SBN:

Prediction: Meyer will end up taking off a few days and then return to the Florida program maybe a week later. I know: "He's human." "It's just the way he is." "People aren't always rational." I've heard all the excuses.

But it's a joke. Maybe he didn't plan this out beforehand -- I'm inclined to think that no one is that cynical. That doesn't mean it isn't a joke now. This is not complicated. Either Urban Meyer is too sick to coach or he isn't currently sick enough to deserve your sympathy.

Or options three and four, if you're into your non-dualistic thinkin', baby. Three: he completely wigged out after the soundest defeat since 2005, triggering a total meltdown into full blown public and ugly nervous breakdown he worked through in shaky and indecisive fashion. Four: no one has a clue, everything's still effectively up in the air, and he's earned the goodwill from Florida to do that while still holding together the number one recruiting class in the nation. Where sympathy comes into it at this point is beyond us, unless you'd just like to get peeved at Meyer in the first place (which, after the initial shock, most Florida fans seemed to have abandoned in favor of ye olde reliable fatalism.)

Testudo: he'd have wings. The rumor du jour is Mike Leach to Maryland, which would be a fantastic fit if only to watch Sleepy Retreadville (the ACC, natch) kicked in the balls by the Detestable Mr. Leach.

The Nike-branded moon was in retrograde. More on this in a bit, but when a robbery and a beating happen involving your football team on the same night, something's spinning sideways in the celestial event generator.

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