Arkansas and LSU had enjoyed a neighboring-state
rivalry beginning in 1901, however, the two teams had not met since 1936, the end of a 23-year run of meetings in
Shreveport. The 9–1 Tigers, led by quarterback
Y. A. Tittle, were not invited to play in the
1947 Sugar Bowl, and instead matched up with the rival Razorbacks.
 Arkansas entered at 6–3–1, losing at
, and tying
. The rain, sleet, snow, and ice from a winter storm would keep many members of the sellout crowd home, but 38,000 still showed up to watch the icy skirmish.
 Unused to the wintry conditions, the LSU team used oil drums filled with charcoal on the sidelines as makeshift heaters, while fans reportedly started fires in the stands to keep warm.
LSU was 1–3 in bowl games previous to the Ice Bowl, and Arkansas was 0–0–1, with their tie in the
1934 Dixie Classic.