SC’s Basketball Coach “resigns” (but leaves scandal behind);  The Magic and Superman earn Game 3 win (but are still behind 2-1); Troy Superfan’s $100 Million dino flick tanks, earning less than $20 Mil (finishing miles behind “The Hangover”);  And Pom Pom tries to screw Neuheisel’s kids (leaving no child behind), by banning them all from the sidelines

Unreal.  When I wrote yesterday’s article about Tim Floyd being sc’s scapegoat, I had no idea that at the same time I was writing it, Tim Floyd was writing his letter of resignation.  Of course the question remains:  Did he leave by choice, or was he forced out?

His letter laments his lack of enthusiasm for the job.  Well, what kind of lunatic would be enthusiastic about a team that’s about to be hit with NCAA sanctions, and that just saw every good player leave the squad?  But is that any reason to bail on your commitment?  The overused analogy of rats fleeing a sinking ship comes to mind, but isn’t the Captain supposed to go down with the ship?  Yes, but Floyd is not the Captain of this Love Boat — Tim is more like Gopher.  Mike Garrett is Captain Stubing — with Pom Pom as First Mate — and by throwing Gopher overboard, Stubing may be hoping to save Carroll and himself.

Garrett might be hoping that the NCAA will blame Floyd for all the wrongdoings, and conclude that usc and Garrett did not know — and should not have known — about any of it.  And then, by virtue of Floyd being gone already, sc can avoid all punishment.  Could the NCAA really fall for this con job?  Sure, if they want to.

It was no con job in Orlando last night, where the Magic continued to adjust in their Finals battle with the Lakers, actually taking a hard-fought Game 3 victory, 108-104.  The Magic led through the whole second half, and held off L.A.’s late comeback by forcing Kobe into a rough 4th quarter. 

The Lakers were down by 9 with about 7 minutes left, when the Laker-Bruins lifted L.A. back into it.  Trevor Ariza hit a huge 3 during the run, and scored 13, with 7 rebounds and 2 steals, for the game.  Good news for L.A. that his shooting slump lasted for only one game. 

Trevor’s huge contribution was no surprise, but Jordan Farmar’s was.  Phil Jackson finally gave Farmar a chance, and Farmar delivered.  Jordan was given all 16 minutes of the Point Guard position when Derek Fisher wasn’t in, leaving Shannon Brown as a “did not play, Coach’s Decision.”  And Farmar responded with 11 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals.  His tough, leaning bank shot as the 24-second clock ran down in the middle of the 4th was a true momentum-shifter (as pointed out by Jeff Van Gundy on TV), saving the Lakers from going down by double-digits.

I am NOT advocating Fisher’s ousting from the Starting Line-up.  In fact, Fisher had his 3rd straight good game in the Finals, and actually swished a beautiful three right after he came in for Farmar with just a few minutes left in the game.

What I AM saying is that Farmar performed with confidence and success, on the NBA’s biggest stage, and should be the undisputed heir apparent to the Lakers’ Point Guard position.

After Ariza, Farmar, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom had brought the Lakers back, it was Kobe’s turn to close out the Magic.  But on this night, despite scoring 31 points, the World’s best closer had a very unhappy ending, missing a huge late Free Throw (and 5 on the night!), and missing TWO threes in the final seconds, either of which could have kept the Lakers in the game.

But it’s not fair to blame the loss on Kobe not being a God for one night.  The reason why the Lakers were playing catch-up is that they allowed Orlando to shoot 75% in the first half, an NBA Finals record.  Sure, they are a good shooting team, but they were getting a lot more open looks than they did in the first two games.  Part of that is better passing and ball movement, but part of it is also the Lakers displaying slightly less Defensive energy than they did in Staples. 

The Magic was bolstered by Rafer Alston, who shook his 2-game slump to score 20, and by the fact that FIVE of their key players scored at least 18 points.  They ended the game at a NBA Finals record 62.5% shooting… but still had to survive a scare at the end to get the Home Victory, so no one is really worried about the Lakers this time, like they were a little bit in Houston and Denver.

And speaking of scary, the scariest thing about the new Will Ferrell Dinosaur movie “Land of the Lost” is the ghastly amount of money that it is losing.  The L.A. Times is wondering if Ferrell’s status as a blockbuster movie star is now extinct, since the Studio is taking such a bath on this “can’t miss” project. 

And to add insult to injury, besides “Land of the Lost” losing to the #2 film “Up” (in the cartoon’s second week), it also got demolished by (#1 film) “The Hangover,” which happens to be directed by Ferrell’s former Director, from “Old School.”  So it appears that Ferrell’s monster movie got mauled by the monster that he helped popularize — the crude (and lowbrow) male teen comedy.

And speaking of crude and lowbrow comedies, Ferrell’s good buddy Pete Carroll has now sunk to new lows… and THAT is really saying something.  The man who prides himself on helping out young kids, has gone out of his way to TRY to punish some totally innocent ones. 

There used to be a rule prohibiting minors on the sidelines at Pac-10 games, so Rick Neuheisel petitioned the League to grant an exception for the children of Coaches.  The Pac-10 Coaches put it to a vote, and it came out 9-1 in favor of the exemption, with the one holdout being Pom Pom Pete.

That is one great big “F – U.”

Don’t let him feed you any tripe about the safety of the kids.  He knows that Rick’s kids are teens who are completely capable of avoiding injury on the sidelines.  And he probably knew that the decision would go in Rick’s favor.  So the point of Carroll’s vote was solely to give Rick a slap in the face, and all at the expense of the children.

Family values, my ass.  Carroll’s son is already on the sidelines, as an Assistant Coach.  So Pete just wants to f*ck with Rick, and maybe, keep him apart from his own kids.  Nothing like throwing a wedge between a man and his children. 

Face it:  Only a classless bastard would go out of his way to maliciously separate father and son.  Or is he really afraid that the efficiency with which the junior Neuheisel wrangles headset cables is going to give UCLA an unfair advantage?  Is the Coach who famously inundates his own sidelines with drugged-out, murder-indicted Rap Stars and sleazy, morally-bankrupt professional agents, adamant about who is on the opposing sidelines? 

And if you think I am over-reacting to this preceived slight, I am only taking my cue from Neuheisel himself.  Rick told a fundraiser audience about the slight, and that it really pissed him off.  He went further, saying that he wanted it to piss off everyone in the room.  Nice.  This man clearly understands the Rivalry, and he understands that slimy Carroll stands for everything that UCLA stands against. 

Now, if only they would run off Carroll like they did Floyd — It’s not like Carroll hasn’t done everything Floyd did, times 30,000.  He just wasn’t stupid enough to get his own hands dirty.  He may be scum, but he knows how to get away with it.

And if only the Bruins could BeatSC this year — I’d love to see Carroll, in defeat, forced to shake hands with all the Neuheisel kids after the game.