Oklahoma State and Ole Miss to Meet in 82nd Annual Allstate Sugar Bowl


Oklahoma State and Ole Miss to Meet in 82nd Annual Allstate Sugar Bowl park

Oklahoma State, from the Big 12 Conference, and Ole Miss, from the Southeastern Conference, will be featured in the 82nd annual Allstate Sugar Bowl on Friday, January 1, 2016, in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The game is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. (Central) and will be televised by ESPN.

A limited number of tickets are available by visiting www.Ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000.

This is the first match-up of teams from the Big 12 and the SEC since a new agreement was signed by the Allstate Sugar Bowl and the two elite conferences. The Sugar Bowl will host the top available teams from each conference eight times in the next 11 years – in the other three seasons (2017, 2020 and 2023), the Sugar Bowl will serve as a College Football Playoff Semifinal. The agreement runs through the 2025 season.

"We're very excited for the opportunity to host these great representatives of the Big 12 and the SEC," said T. Carey Wicker, III, the President of the Sugar Bowl Committee. "Both teams have had outstanding seasons and bring exciting styles of play to New Orleans. This will be another wonderful opportunity for us to welcome thousands of fans to this great city and show off all it has to offer – world-class cuisine, trend-setting music, outstanding gridiron competition and more. We look forward to introducing our unique flavor of hospitality to the players, coaches, administrators and fans from these two great universities."

"One of the Sugar Bowl's primary objectives has been to preserve its great history while also ensuring a bright and healthy future," said CEO Paul Hoolahan. "This year's matchup between Oklahoma State and Ole Miss embodies that objective as both schools have played a part in the Bowl's rich past – Oklahoma State last competing here in 1946 and Ole Miss in 1970 when Archie Manning was the quarterback.  Now, with our relationship with the Big 12 and SEC stretching through the 2026 game, we can confidently say the present and future look as good as our past."

The Allstate Sugar Bowl is the designated destination for the champions of both the Big 12 and the SEC. However, with both Oklahoma and Alabama qualifying for the College Football Playoff based on their top-four national rankings, the Sugar Bowl was assigned replacement teams from both leagues. Oklahoma State (10-2, 7-2 Big 12) was selected by the Big 12 as the conference's second-place team as determined by a tiebreaker over TCU, whom the Cowboys defeated in head-to-head action. Ole Miss (9-3, 6-2 SEC) became the SEC's representative due to being the next-highest-ranked team in the final College Football Playoff Rankings. The Rebels are No. 12, while Florida is No. 19. Oklahoma State is ranked No. 16.

This will be the 12th meeting between teams that now make up the Big 12 and SEC. The first meeting came in the second Sugar Bowl in 1936 when TCU and Hall-of-Famer Sammy Baugh held off LSU and its own Hall-of-Fame quarterback Abe Mickal, 3-2, in a quagmire. Those teams split national championship recognition that season. The last Big 12-SEC meeting in the Sugar Bowl was just two seasons ago when Oklahoma knocked off Alabama, 45-31, in the 2014 Classic.

Oklahoma State has been ranked in the top 15 of the Associated Press poll in seven of the last eight seasons and has posted 10-win seasons in four of the last six years. Only once has OSU finished lower than third in the Big 12 since 2009. Eye-popping point totals have been the norm under head coach Mike Gundy as the Cowboys have scored 50 or more points 30 times, 60 or more points 10 times and 70 or more points three times in his 11-year tenure in Stillwater. Gundy has an all-time record of 94-46 (.671) with the Cowboys.

Since the hiring of Hugh Freeze in 2012, Ole Miss has experienced a quick resurgence. In Freeze's first season, the Rebels had a five-game improvement. He followed that with eight wins in 2013 and nine in both 2014 and 2015. His 33 wins in a four-year stretch are the best at Ole Miss since Hall of Fame coach Johnny Vaught led the Rebels to 36 wins from 1960-63 – a stretch that included three trips to the Sugar Bowl. In his four years in Oxford, Freeze has posted a mark of 33-18 (.647). His overall head coaching mark, including two years at Lambuth and one year at Arkansas State, is 63-25 (.716).

Both Gundy and Freeze are natives of the states they now represent on the sidelines. Gundy is a native of Midwest City, Okla., and was a star quarterback for the Cowboys from 1986-89, helping his team to a pair of bowl wins – the Sun Bowl in 1987 and the Holiday Bowl in 1988. Freeze was born in Oxford and raised in Independence, Miss. He is a graduate of Southern Miss. 

Oklahoma State will be making its second appearance in the Sugar Bowl. The school's first and only appearance was in the 1946 when they were known as the Oklahoma A&M Aggies and had captured the Missouri Valley Conference Championship. In that game, Bob Fenimore led the fifth-ranked Aggies to a 33-13 victory over No. 7 St. Mary's from California. Ole Miss, meanwhile, has a long history with the Sugar Bowl, though the Rebels will be making their first appearance since Archie Manning led them to a 27-22 upset of Arkansas in the 1970 game. Overall, Ole Miss has a 5-3 record in the Sugar Bowl, with all eight appearances coming between 1953 and 1970 under the direction of Vaught.

This will be Oklahoma State's 26th overall bowl appearance (16-9), while the Rebels will be going to their 37th bowl game (23-13). The Cowboys have played in a school-record nine straight bowl games entering this year while this will be the fourth consecutive season that Ole Miss has advanced to a bowl.

Despite the long histories for both programs, this will be just the third meeting between the two teams. Both previous meetings came in the Cotton Bowl with Ole Miss winning both: 31-28 following the 2003 season, with New Orleans native Eli Manning at quarterback, and 21-7 following the 2009 campaign.

Schools that are currently in the SEC have registered an all-time mark of 34-41-1 (.453) in the Sugar Bowl, while this will be the 20th appearance in the game by a current member of the Big 12, with an overall record of 12-7 (.632).

Oklahoma State has a 54-77-1 (.413) all-time mark against SEC teams, while Ole Miss is 13-12 (.520) all-time against the Big 12 (current membership).

The New Orleans Mid-Winter Sports Association was founded in 1934 by a group of civic-minded businessman and professionals interested in promoting amateur athletic events for the purpose of bringing visitors to New Orleans during what had traditionally been a slow period for tourism. Now known as the Sugar Bowl Committee, the organization remains a voluntary group whose members serve without remuneration. A full-time staff is retained to assist the Committee in managing its affairs and is headed by CEO Paul Hoolahan and COO Jeff Hundley, who have over 40 years of combined experience running postseason college football games.

Since the first Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 1935, the organization has hosted 27 national champion teams, 86 Hall of Fame players, 46 Hall of Fame coaches and 17 Heisman Trophy winners. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee is involved with various community initiatives through hosting and sponsorships of sporting events, awards and clinics. Through over 50 annual activities, the organization supports and honors over 25,000 student-athletes each year, while injecting over $2 billion into the local economy in the last decade.