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Ole Miss Receives Sugar Bowl Invite

For the second straight year, Ole Miss is one of nation’s best college football teams and has been selected to play in a New Year’s Six postseason bowl game.

The Rebels have accepted an invitation to play in the 82nd annual Allstate Sugar Bowl, as Ole Miss continues its rich bowl tradition on Jan. 1 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The game is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. CT and will be televised by ESPN.

The 12th-ranked Rebels (9-3, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) will face No. 16 Oklahoma State (10-2, 7-2 Big 12 Conference). The official Ole Miss fan color is red, and tickets, travel and other bowl information is available at www.olemissfb.com.

“We are honored to accept an invitation to the AllState Sugar Bowl and be one of only five teams to return a ‘New Year’s Six’ bowl,” said Ole Miss Athletics Director Ross Bjork. “I want to congratulate our student-athletes and coaches for their dedication, hard work and commitment in maintaining our program’s status among the elite in college football. I’m excited for Rebel Nation to be able to renew our rich tradition in one of the premier bowl games in college football. With our past bowl crowds, we have established ourselves as one of the most supportive fanbases in the nation, and I expect this year to be no different. New Orleans will be painted Red and Blue!”

With back-to-back appearances in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and Allstate Sugar Bowl, Ole Miss is one of five programs to make New Year’s Six bowls in the first two seasons under the College Football Playoff system. The others are Alabama, Florida State, Michigan State and Ohio State.

Ole Miss is making its fourth straight bowl appearance in four seasons under the direction of head coach Hugh Freeze. Last year, he became the only coach in school history to guide the Rebels to bowl berths in each of his first three seasons. The Rebels’ 33 wins under Freeze are the most in a four-year span since John Vaught led the team to 36 victories from 1960-63.

This year’s Rebel squad won nine regular-season games for the second straight year, defeating Alabama, Auburn and LSU in the same season for the first time in school history. It’s the second straight year that Ole Miss was the only team to take down the Crimson Tide in the regular season. Ole Miss rose as high as No. 3 in the national rankings (again, for the second straight year) and finished the regular season with school records for points, touchdowns, total yards and passing yards.

“I’m proud of our program for being one of the few to make it back to a ‘New Year’s Six’ bowl,” Freeze said. “My childhood was spent hearing Rebel fans talk about Archie leading us to a Sugar Bowl win, and I’m thrilled for our players, coaches and fans to return to New Orleans and represent the Southeastern Conference. Oklahoma State is an outstanding team and we have a great challenge in front of us, but I know Rebel Nation will come in force and provide us tremendous support as they have in every bowl game.”

Ole Miss bolsters its celebrated bowl legacy with its 37th all-time appearance, tied for 18th on the NCAA Division I list of all-time bowl berths. The Rebels are 23-13 in bowl games, with the 23 wins tied for 10th-most in college football history. The Rebels’ .639 winning percentage is third-best among all schools with 25 or more appearances, behind USC (.660) and Oklahoma State (.640).

This will mark Ole Miss’ ninth appearance in the Sugar Bowl, matching Florida and Georgia for third-most among all college football programs. Only Alabama and LSU have made it to the famed New Orleans destination more times than Ole Miss. This is the Rebels’ first Sugar Bowl appearance since Archie Manning led them there in 1970. Ole Miss made eight appearances from 1953-70, winning five of them.

Ole Miss is 10-2 in its last 12 bowl games, including a streak of six straight victories from 2002 to 2013.

Ole Miss and Oklahoma State have met twice before, both times resulting in a Rebel victory at the Cotton Bowl following the 2003 and 2009 seasons. The Rebels won 31-28 in 2004 and 21-7 in 2009.

Ole Miss is 13-12 against current Big 12 schools, including a 9-4 mark in bowl games. Seven of the Rebels’ last 10 postseason outings have come against teams currently in the Big 12.

This is the first matchup 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.

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, Oklahoma State 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, and Ole Miss became the SEC’s representative due to being the next-highest-ranked team in the final CFP Rankings. The Rebels are No. 12, while Florida is No. 19. Oklahoma State is ranked No. 16.

Oklahoma State is actually ranked higher than Ole Miss in both the AP poll (13 vs. 16) and Amway coaches poll (13 vs. 15).

Follow Ole Miss Football on Twitter (@OleMissFB) and Facebook (Facebook.com/OleMissFootball), in addition to www.OleMissSports.com.

Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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