Tide or Tiger: A house divided

Published 12:04 am Saturday, November 29, 2008

Scoop and Betty Rivers each have a deeply vested interest in the outcome of today’s Iron Bowl, but neither will be in attendance.

Instead, the couple will watch the game at home in Selma. Scoop and the couple’s oldest son, Rhett, will watch the game in the den. Betty and the younger son, Porter, will watch in the bedroom.

“We made the decision a long time ago to watch the game in different rooms on different televisions,” said Scoop Rivers. “The last six years, I haven’t been a happy camper.”

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Separate accommodations are required for each two-person set due to differing allegiances. Scoop and Rhett are diehard Alabama fans. But Betty and Porter bleed orange and blue.

Andy and Rebecca Stewart, another “mixed” marriage, will attend the Iron Bowl — and sit together — as they have the last several years. Andy graduated from Auburn in 1990, and Rebecca graduated from Alabama in 1992.

“There are a few comments. (Then) the people I sit around every other game are like, ‘Whoa man, we’re sorry,’” said Andy. “People think its odd. It’s all in fun.”

Before the Stewarts had children, each usually had something riding on the game’s outcome.

“We used to make little bets,” said Rebecca Stewart. “Whichever won, the other would have to do the dishes for a month.”

For Scoop Rivers and Rebecca Stewart, the last six years have been torture. Auburn has won an unprecedented six straight.

“It’s not so much the six in a row that bothers me,” said Scoop Rivers. “It’s the fact that we’ve never beaten Auburn in Tuscaloosa that bothers me.”

However, both streaks appear to be on the verge of ending. Headed into the Iron Bowl, the Tide is undefeated, with its sights set on a national title. Auburn needs a win just to become bowl eligible.

But Betty Rivers is not ready to give up on her Tigers or the streak just yet.

“With this series, you never know,” she said.

Andy Stewart remains optimistic as well.

“My hope is that Alabama’s overlooking us, and I hope they play tight,” he said. “That’s six years of hate that’s kind of pent up.”

Regardless of the outcome, both couples will quickly move on. Neither has made it a point to egg the other on. That doesn’t change the fact that both Scoop and Rebecca will see a win as retribution.

“I’m just going to be happy, very happy,” said Rebecca. “It’s been a long time where we’re used to being the winner, used to being on top. Hopefully this year, I’m going to be the happy one.”