NEW ORLEANS (December 5, 2021) – No. 7 Baylor, from the Big 12 Conference, and No. 8 Ole Miss, from the Southeastern Conference will be featured in the 88th annual Allstate Sugar Bowl on Saturday, January 1, 2022, in the Caesars Superdome. This will be the 60th Sugar Bowl match-up between teams ranked in the Top 10 and the 34th match-up of 10-win teams. The game is scheduled to kick off at 7:45 p.m. (Central) and will be televised by ESPN.
“The Allstate Sugar Bowl is honored to host two of the best teams from the Big 12 and the SEC,” said Ralph Capitelli, President of the Sugar Bowl Committee. “For 87 years, the Sugar Bowl has built a proud tradition of hosting some of the greatest teams in college football; and this match-up will add another chapter to that storied history. We look forward to hosting the Bears and the Rebels and all of their tremendous fans.”
The Allstate Sugar Bowl is the designated destination for the champions of both the Big 12 and the SEC. Baylor (11-2, 7-2 Big 12) clinched the Big 12 title with a thrilling victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday. The Bears will become the 92nd conference champion to play in the Sugar Bowl. However, with SEC Champion Alabama and runner-up Georgia both qualifying for the College Football Playoff (CFP) based on their top-four national rankings, the SEC assigned Ole Miss (10-2, 6-2 SEC) as the Rebels own the next-highest CFP Ranking in the league.
“We’re proud to bring a great match-up of top 10 teams to this year’s Sugar Bowl,” said Sugar Bowl CEO Jeff Hundley. “Both teams have excelled behind the leadership of second-year coaches, who have lifted their programs to great heights. We’re expecting a highly competitive game featuring the up-tempo offense of Ole Miss against the hard-pressing defense of Baylor. We’ve had each of these teams in recent years and know first-hand about the passion of their outstanding fan bases. It will be nice to have an electric environment in the Superdome again this year.”
This will just be the second all-time meeting between Baylor and Ole Miss. The two schools played on September 6, 1975, with the Bears holding off the Rebels, 20-10, in Waco.
Baylor, which defeated Oklahoma State, 21-16, to win its third Big 12 title in the last nine years, has won 11 games for just the third time in history. Four of those wins came against Top-25 opponents. Saturday’s victory marked the 12th time this season that the Bears held an opponent below its scoring average. They rank No. 14 in the country with 19.15 points allowed per game.
Ole Miss, which posted its first 10-win regular season in program history, posted wins over a pair of Top 25 teams. The Rebels closed their season with a thrilling 31-21 victory over archrival Mississippi State in the annual Egg Bowl. They rank No. 4 in the country with 506.7 yards per game and No. 18 in scoring with 35.9 points per game.
Baylor will be making its third Sugar Bowl appearance. The Bears lost to Georgia, 26-14, in the 2020 game, which came 63 years after their first Sugar Bowl – a 13-7 win over Tennessee in the 1957 Classic. Ole Miss, meanwhile, will be making its 10th Sugar Bowl appearance, the third-most all-time. However, the Rebels only have one appearance in the last 51 years – a 48-20 victory over Oklahoma State in the 2016 Sugar Bowl. Their overall mark is 6-3 in the Sugar Bowl.
Baylor head coach Dave Aranda and Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin will be the 100th and 101st coaches to lead a team into the Sugar Bowl. Kiffin has coached in the Sugar Bowl – he was Alabama’s offensive coordinator for its 2015 CFP Semifinal loss to Ohio State. Aranda has never coached in a Sugar Bowl, but he was the defensive coordinator when LSU won the CFP National Championship in New Orleans in 2020.
This will be the 16th Sugar Bowl 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 the 2020 game when Georgia topped Baylor, 26-14. The Big 12 holds a 9-6 advantage entering this year’s game.
This will be the fifth match-up of teams from the SEC and the Big 12 since an agreement was signed by the Allstate Sugar Bowl and the two elite conferences The Allstate Sugar Bowl is scheduled to host the Big 12 and the SEC four times in the next five years. In the other season (2023), the Sugar Bowl will serve as a College Football Playoff Semifinal (January 1, 2024). The agreement runs through the 2025 season.
Schools that are currently in the SEC have registered an all-time mark of 37-43-1 (.463) in the Sugar Bowl, while this will be the 24th appearance in the game by a current member of the Big 12, with an overall record of 14-9 (.609).
Ole Miss will be the home team and will occupy the home bench on the West Sideline of the Caesars Superdome while Baylor will occupy the visitor bench on the East Sideline. In non-semifinal years, the Big 12 and the SEC alternate home and visitor designations annually (the Big 12 was the home team for the 2020 Sugar Bowl).
The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 99 Hall of Fame players, 51 Hall of Fame coaches and 19 Heisman Trophy winners over its 87-year history. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards, scholarships and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors thousands of student-athletes each year, while injecting over $2.7 billion into the local economy in the last decade.