Friends face off for Iron Bowl

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 17, 2000

Features Editor

Nov. 16, 2000 10 PM

As far as Bo Coppage and Jim Outlaw are concerned, there’s no brother-in-law love lost when it comes to football.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Coppage yells "War Eagle" and Outlaw hollers, "Roll Tide," and, as Amos and Andy used to say, "Everything’s okay as long as the trains don’t meet."

But, when Auburn and Alabama collide, there’s going to be more feudin’ in the family than there ever was between the Hatfields and the McCoys.

And, when the "tusklin’s" over and the feathers finally settle, one "brother" will be on a steady diet of humble pie and crow and the other will be ribbin’ and rubbin’ it in for the next 365 days.

Those who know the football feudin’ brothers-in-law will say that Bo’s the better loser.

"That’s because he’s had more practice," quipped his Outlaw brother.

However, this year, Jim has gotten in a good bit of practice.

"Seven times with a tough workout coming on Saturday," Bo said, with a wide grin. And, Bo knows.

Questioned separately, both "avid-rabid" fans predicted victory for their team.

Jim said Bama will win 27-13. Bo had a little less confidence in his team. He took Auburn over the Tide, 27-14.

However, Jim usually predicts victory for Bama with Joe Willie-like brashness, but Alabama’s woes this year have been a big disappointment for him. The seven losses have been a bitter pill to swallow, but he’s taken his medicine like a man and he’s 100 percent cured.

"This is Alabama-Auburn, man. It doesn’t matter what our record is. We’ll come to play and we’re going to take the war right out of the Eagles and send them fluttering back to the cow college."

Them there’s fightin’ words and Bo bows up when his Outlaw brother starts talkin’ trash.

Auburn fans find Alabama fans obnoxious. "All they ever talk about is ‘the Bear.’ But their glory days are gone, so that’s all they’ll ever have to talk about," Bo said. "We’ll have to ‘Bear’ with it."

Alabama fans find Auburn fans just as obnoxious. "Especially when we go over there and have to tailgate in livestock pens," Jim said, obviously hoping to stir up a stink with his brother-in-law.

But, Bo was armed and ready.

When a football team’s predicted to be a contender for the national championship and they lose their homecoming game and six others and have another waiting in the wings, their fans have got to talk trash, he said.

"And, what’s more, we’re going to go over there and beat them at their own place," Bo said. "About a 100 years ago, we played Alabama in Tuscaloosa twice and beat them both times."

What happens twice happens three times and the country boys are going to put a real whuppin’ on the city boys come Saturday afternoon, Bo said and Bo knows.

Won’t happen, Jim said. Bryant-Denny will be rockin’ and Tuberville will be shakin’ in his shoes.

"Tommy Tuberville has never beaten Alabama and he’s not going to know what hit him Saturday," Jim said. "The Tide is going to roll – steamroll over Auburn."

Bo said all of that "throw out the records, it’s Auburn and Alabama" stuff is hype for losers.

"Alabama would probably like to throw out the records. We would, too, if we were 3 and 7," Bo said, laughing.

On Saturday, Alabama will trot onto the field with an embarrassing record and a coach that’s on his last leg. Auburn will come in flying high with its eagle eyes on an SEC championship and the brothers-in-law will be there together to watch the war on the field and add fuel to the family feud.

Neither is sure how he will handle the aftermath.

What they both enjoy is watching their team win while the other’s team loses.

Bo said Jim is as poor a winner as he is a loser.

"One time Auburn played Georgia the same day Alabama played Mississippi State," Bo said. "Both of them are the Bulldogs. Georgia beat Auburn and, Jim called and barked on my answering machine. A little later, Alabama lost to Mississippi State, so I called Jim and played his barking message back to him."

When Jim came home and found himself barking up his own tree, Bo had the last, "and best" laugh.

"Last year, when Auburn was having a tough year, Jim would call and pretend he couldn’t get the score on the radio," Bo said. "He would want to know who was losing. But, when Alabama’s losing, he won’t even answer the telephone and he turns off his answering machine."

But Saturday, the brothers-in-law will be face-to-face when the losing and winning is going on and neither can turn off the answering machine.

But, Bo’s not worried. He knows Tuberville and the Tigers are going to turn T-town upside down.

And, Jim?

He’s not worried either.

"If we were playing Nebraska, I might be worried," he said. "But this is not Nebraska. It’s just Auburn."

Let the feuding begin!