The 1963 squad was Bear Bryant's sixth at Alabama. The Crimson Tide lost to Florida and long-time rivalAuburn en route to an 8–2 regular season. Originally wanting to pit Navy against Ole Miss, the Sugar Bowl extended the invitation to Alabama with two weeks remaining in the regular season. Their appearance was the seventeenth overall bowl appearance and the fourth in the Sugar Bowl for Alabama.
Prior to the regular season finale against Miami (FL) quarterback Joe Namath was suspended by coach Bryant through the bowl game. With Namath out, Steve Sloan started for the Crimson tide in the Sugar Bowl.
The 1963 squad was Johnny Vaught's seventeenth at Ole Miss. The Rebels did not lose a regular season game, but did tie Memphis State and long-time rivalMississippi State en route to an 7–0–2 regular season. Their appearance was the twelfth overall bowl appearance and the seventh in the Sugar Bowl for Ole Miss.
The game was a defensive slugfest. Alabama scored its first points on a 46-yard field goal by Tim Davis to take a 3–0 lead. In the second quarter, Davis kicked field goals of 31 and 34-yards to give Alabama a 9–0 lead at halftime. In the third quarter, Davis had a 48-yard field goal to extend the Alabama lead to 12–0. Early in the fourth quarter, Ole Miss scored the only touchdown of the game when Perry Lee Dunn threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Larry Smith. Alabama then held their lead and won the game 12–7. For his four field goal performance, Tim Davis was named the Sugar Bowl MVP.