Cuneos at odds as Alabama faces Notre Dame

Jeff and Liz Cuneo live in a “house divided.” They will be on opposite sides during the BCS National Championship game.

Even Jeff and Liz Cuneo's garden gnomes take sides. Jeff's gnome supports the University of Notre Dame and Liz' support the University of Alabama. (Photo contributed)

Jeff is a University of Notre Dame (ND) fan, while Liz supports the University of Alabama (UA).

“In 1986, we had only been married five years when Alabama played ND in the regular season,” Liz said. “We turned the game off and left the house. We weren’t sure the marriage was strong enough at that point to survive. Alabama won, by the way.”

They met at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery while Jeff was attending Squadron Officer School. Liz’ boss introduced them.

However, Liz was concerned when her boss said there was only one problem. “He’s Catholic,” her boss said. Liz wasn’t concerned, but her boss said there’s one other problem.

“I thought ‘uh-oh,'” Liz said. Her boss disclosed that Jeff was a ND graduate. “I said, ‘THAT could be a problem.'” Liz was born into an avid UA family. “Obviously, we got past that issue as we have been married for 31 years.”

Jeff predicts that Notre Dame will repeat its 1973 winning score, and defense will be their strength. Liz knows the score will be like 1986 in UA’s favor because of their “unbelievable offensive line.”

“We’re both loyal fans, but hope by this point we have things in perspective,” Liz said. They wear their respective T-shirts and sweatshirts. “And, of course, my lovely houndstooth earrings and scarf.”

The Cuneos even have a ND and a UA garden gnome. “Jeff’s is male. Mine is female,” Liz said.

They won’t watch the game on Jan. 7. “Our 31 years of marriage are more important than the game. We both tend to be very excitable. No need to upset our sweet dog,” Liz said.

Jeff served 21 years in the U.S. Air Force and now works for a defense contractor. Liz frequently volunteered at their children’s schools and, more recently, with Madison Beautification and Tree Board, Madison Relay for Life and Madison Street Festival.

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