One of the oddities of college football bowl season is that each bowl gives its participants a lavish gift basket as a celebration to end the season. According to NCAA rules, each bowl is allowed to award up to $550 worth of gifts to 125 participants per school (but if you give a player a free tattoo in the offseason then DEATH TO YOU!).
Not all gift baskets are the same, though, and some bowls give out much better swag then others. We’ve rounded up the winners and losers.
The BEST Bowl Gifts:
4. R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl - East Carolina vs. Louisiana-Lafayette.
Beats by Dre! This is a practical gift that nearly every football player will use.
Players in the New Orleans Bowl will also receive a Fossil watch and an Oakley backpack.
5. MAACO Bowl Las Vegas - Washington vs. Boise State.
The lone gift for Washington and Boise State players is a “gift suite.” In Las Vegas. Because what could go wrong when you give a bunch of college kids free suites in Las Vegas?
6. Chick-fil-A Bowl - LSU vs. Clemson.
A Chick-fil-A gift card is the most delicious item on the entire list.
Players in the Chick-fil-A bowl will also receive a $300 gift card (unspecified), a Fossil watch, a Russell Athletic Chick-fil-A Bowl hat, and a Russell Athletic travel bag that sounds like a perfect gift for grandpa.
7. Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas - Minnesota vs. Texas Tech.
All players will receive a 32” flat screen television, which will be hell to fit in the plane on the way home.
Players in the Meineke Car Care Bowl will also receive a Fossil watch, a belt buckle, a T-shirt, a lapel pin (!!), and a backpack.
The Bad, Terrible, No Good Bowl Gifts:
9. Gildan New Mexico Bowl - Arizona vs. Nevada.
A quill pen! Useful for gouging you eyes out as soon as you receive a quill pen as a gift.
Players in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl will also receive a gift suite (which in Albuquerque is about as useful as a quill pen), a Deuce brand watch, Oakley Holbrook sunglasses, an Oakley fine knit beanie cap, an Oakley Flak Pack XL backpack, and a Gildan stadium blanket.
10. Little Caesars Pizza Bowl - Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky.
A football. The organizers of the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl decided to give college football players a football.
Players in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl will also receive a Timely watch and a leather travel sports bag (for stowing away your football).
11. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl - Utah State vs. Toledo.
A “Tiger Woods Victory Nike beanie” headlines a pitiful offering of swag that only an overprotective mother would assemble.
Players in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl will also receive a gift suite (in Idaho, remember), a North End black winter coat, Kombi winter gloves, an Ogio Bullion backpack, and a Big Game football.
12. Belk Bowl - Duke vs. Cincinnati.
Players in the Belk Bowl will receive a Belk shopping spree and a Fossil watch. A quick search of the Belk website reveals the store looks like a really good place to stock up on dress shirts and cardigans for your mom. Maybe a new comforter. Belk has some really nice comforters.
13. Hyundai Sun Bowl - USC vs. Georgia Tech.
A Helen of Troy hair dryer. At the end of a year in which Matt Barkley was projected to win the Heisman Trophy and a national championship, he will instead be given a Helen of Troy hair dryer.
Players in the Hyundai Sun Bowl will also receive some other stuff that doesn’t make up for a Helen of Troy hair dryer.
H/T David Broughton at Sports Business Daily.