The 1997 Motor City Bowl was the inaugural edition of the new college football bowl game, and was played at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan on December 26, 1997. The game featured the Marshall Thundering Herd of the MAC and the Ole Miss Rebels of the Southeastern Conference. The Rebels finished third in the SEC West and the Thundering Herd were MAC champions after beating Toledo in the 1997 MAC Championship Game. Ole Miss won the game 34–31 and was led by the game's MVP Stewart Patridge at quarterback and Deuce McAllister at running back. Marshall was led by Chad Pennington at quarterback and Randy Moss at wide receiver.
To date this has been the only Motor City Bowl featuring a team from the SEC.