Baylor completed their regular season with a 10–2 overall record, 7–2 in Big 12 games. Their losses came to Oklahoma State and TCU. The Bears defeated three ranked teams during the regular season: Iowa State, BYU, and Oklahoma. Baylor then faced Oklahoma State again, in the 2021 Big 12 Championship Game. While Oklahoma State had won their first meeting, 24–14, the Bears won the title contest, 21–16. Baylor entered the Sugar Bowl with an overall 11–2 record, ranked sixth in the AP Poll and seventh in the College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings.
Ole Miss completed their regular season with a 10–2 overall record, 6–2 in SEC games. The Rebels lost to Alabama and Auburn, and defeated two ranked teams in FBS, Arkansas and Texas A&M. Ole Miss entered the Sugar Bowl ranked eighth in all major polls.