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Bowl Gifts College Football - Thought counts: All bowl gifts aren't equal

December 24, 2008

David Fox College Football Staff Writer

Ask any college football player about whether there are too many bowl games and you might get a puzzled look. After all, you haven't seen some of these bowl gift packs.

Go ahead and scoff at the St. Petersburg Bowl between USF and Memphis. The players just ran off with mini camcorders and noise-canceling headphones.

Bowls are permitted to give players $500 worth of bowl gifts. They range from standard-issue bowl souvenirs such as hooded sweatshirts and mini-helmets to nifty electronics such as iPods and Nintendo Wiis.

Here's a list of all the bowl goodie bags this season:

Navy-Wake Forest, Dec. 20 in Washington
The gear:
Sony portable DVD player
Embossed leather DVD carry case
Commemorative football
Custom die-struck medallion (same one was used for the coin toss)
Custom woven afghan
Embroidered beanie
Warm-up suit
Gym bag
The verdict: Nearly every bowl gives out logo-laden swag such as hoodies, footballs and watches. The medallion used for the coin toss and the afghan are a change of pace … but not necessarily for the better.
Arizona-BYU, Dec. 20 in Las Vegas
The gear:
Nintendo Wii sports bundle package
Oakley Holeshot Watch
The verdict: Who would have thought going 7-5 in the Pac-10 would land you a highly coveted Wii Sports Pack? Seriously, this thing comes with a wireless Nunchuk Kit!
Memphis-South Florida, Dec. 20 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The gear:
Flip Mino camcorder
Noise-canceling headphones
Floppy hat
Ogio bag
The verdict: Don't underestimate the value of noise-canceling headphones on long road trips, particularly if Jim Leavitt is in your travel party.
Colorado State-Fresno State, Dec. 20 in Albuquerque, N.M.
The gear:
Oakley backpack
Oakley watch
RCA video recorder/camera
Oakley beanie
Personalized commemorative football
New Mexico Bowl pen
New Era cap
One-year subscription to ESPN the Magazine
The verdict: You want an easy way to spot the bowls ESPN has a hand in running? ESPN the Magazine is a bowl gift.
Southern Miss-Troy, Dec. 21 in New Orleans
The gear:
Player's choice of Nike apparel
Bowl ring
Bowl watch
The verdict: Troy players would probably give up their gift bags to erase their overtime loss.
Boise State-TCU, Dec. 23 in San Diego
The gear:
Tommy Hilfiger watch
iPod Touch
Best Buy gift certificate
Hooded sweatshirt
The verdict: Is Tommy Hilfiger still cool?
Hawaii-Notre Dame, Dec. 24 in Honolulu
The gear:
Kicker iKick500 iPod/iPhone Dock
Silk tie
Oakley sunglasses
Kahala aloha shirt
Beach chair
Beach towel
Luggage tags
The verdict: The iPod dock looks like something out of the Batcave. The Hawaii bowl tie and Aloha shirt screams "re-gifting" for Father's Day. And those beach chairs and towels sure will come in handy in South Bend.
Central Michigan-Florida Atlantic, Dec. 26 in Detroit
The gear:
Motor City souvenir watch
Two-piece leather travel set
The verdict: FAU begged for a bowl bid for this?
North Carolina-West Virginia, Dec. 27 in Charlotte, N.C.
The gear:
Flip Mino digital video recorder
Fossil watch and sunglasses set
Personalized commemorative football
Laptop backpack
Racing-themed baseball hat
The verdict: Only a bowl in Charlotte would think about giving a "racing-themed baseball hat."
Florida State-Wisconsin, Dec. 27 in Orlando, Fla.
The gear:
$400 shopping spree at Best Buy during the bowl trip
Goodie bag
The verdict: What a genius bowl gift. The players get exactly the electronics they want with the shopping spree and the bowl officials can skip some of the legwork.
California-Miami, Dec. 27 in San Francisco
The gear:
Sony noise-canceling headphones
Armor Gear rolling duffel bag
Fossil watch
Emerald Bowl baseball cap
The verdict: Standard fare: Electronics, luggage, watch, souvenir item.
Louisiana Tech-Northern Illinois, Dec. 28 in Shreveport, La.
The gear:
Trek mountain bike
Baseball cap
Timely Co. watch
Souvenir football
The verdict: The mountain bike is probably the most unique gift of the bowl season. But do football players want mountain bikes?
N.C. State-Rutgers, Dec. 29 in Birmingham, Ala.
The gear:
Flip Mino digital video recorder
Sony noise-canceling headphones
Knit cap
Ogio bag
The verdict: Another bowl giving away digital video recorders. A helpful reminder to all athletes with one of these new toys: Fans will be scouring your Facebook and MySpace pages for embarrassing videos.
Missouri-Northwestern, Dec. 29 in San Antonio
The gear:
80-gigabyte Sony PS3
NBA Ballerz PS3 video game
Fossil watch
The verdict: Playstations and PSPs have been hot items in years past. Not so much this year. Even on a PS3, Missouri's defense still won't be able to stop Oklahoma.
Maryland-Nevada, Dec. 30 in Boise, Idaho
The gear:
Sony camcorder
Winter jacket
Hooded sweatshirt
Baseball cap
The verdict: There are some useful items here, but all the winter gear just reminds the ACC team it's closer to Siberia than the Orange Bowl.
Rice-Western Michigan, Dec. 30 in Houston
The gear:
$350 Best Buy shopping spree
Swisstek watch
Under Armour HeatGear long-sleeve tee
Under Armour twister pants
Under Armour tech cap
Toppers backpack
Commemorative belt buckle
The verdict: Nothing says Texas like a commemorative belt buckle. Plus, here's another shopping spree.
Oklahoma State-Oregon, Dec. 30 in San Diego
The gear:
Insignia 19-inch HD TV with DVD player
Tourneau watch
Hooded sweatshirt
Best Buy gift certificate
The verdict: A small but thoughtful gift pack. Did you notice the TV is dorm-sized?
Air Force-Houston, Dec. 31 in Fort Worth, Texas
The gear:
Flip digital video camera
Commemorative watch
Rolling luggage
Commemorative football
Mini football helmet
Luggage tags
The verdict: Nothing out of the ordinary here. And we're running out of pithy comments for Flip digital video cameras and assorted swag that carries a bowl logo.
Oregon State-Pittsburgh, Dec. 31 in El Paso, Texas.
The gear:
Sony DVD Handycam
Timely silvertone watch
Travel bag
Fleece pullover
Hair dryer
Sun Bowl souvenir coin
The verdict: Brut is the title sponsor and routinely supplies its bowl participants with hair dryers. Dave Wannstedt might be wondering if Brut makes moustache groomers, too.
Boston College-Vanderbilt, Dec. 31 in Nashville, Tenn.
The gear:
Noise-canceling headphones
MP3 player
Fossil watch
Adidas fleece jacket
Armor Gear backpack
The verdict: If the players don't like country music, they can use their noise-canceling headphones and the MP3 player.
Kansas-Minnesota, Dec. 31 in Tempe, Ariz.
The gear:
Vizio 26-inch LCD HD TV
Insight Bowl watch
Snack pack
The verdict: The Insight Bowl gets the award for best TV gift, beating out the Holiday Bowl by seven inches.
Georgia Tech-LSU, Dec. 31 in Atlanta
The gear:
$300 Best Buy gift card
Travel bag
Souvenir football
Two hats
The verdict: Seriously, one Chick-fil-A Bowl hat is enough. How about a year's supply of waffle fries instead?
Iowa-South Carolina, Jan. 1 in Tampa, Fla.
The gear:
Flip Mino digital video recorder
Fossil watch
The verdict: An Outback Bowl ring just doesn't have the same "wow" factor as a Super Bowl ring.
Clemson-Nebraska, Jan. 1 in Jacksonville, Fla.
The gear:
Oakley Split Thump MP3 sunglasses
Bulova watch
Jostens ring
Fitted cap
Mercury Luggage rolling duffel and sling bag
The verdict: There's actually a set of the Oakley Thumps in Nebraska's trademark white and red. Apparently, anything in orange and purple isn't big seller outside of Clemson, S.C.
Georgia-Michigan State, Jan. 1 in Orlando, Fla.
The gear:
$400 shopping spree at Best Buy
Goodie bag
The verdict: Another Best Buy shopping spree. Heck, bowl season might have been able to save a few Circuit City stores.
Penn State-USC, Jan. 1 in Pasadena, Calif.
The gear:
Sony DVD camcorder
Fossil watch
Ogio backpack
Autographed football
One-year subscription to ESPN the Magazine
The verdict: Rose Bowl officials would like to remind you that bowl gifts would not be possible without the bowl system. Chew on that, playoff fans.
Cincinnati-Virginia Tech, Jan. 1 in Miami
The gear:
$300 Sony Gifting Suite
New Era fitted hat
Torneau watch
Ogio backpack
Luggage tags
The verdict: The Orange Bowl needed the $300 Sony shopping spree to offset the lameness of a pair of Crocs.
Ole Miss-Texas Tech, Jan. 2 in Dallas
The gear:
The verdict: The Cotton Bowl's lips are sealed. It won't reveal its bowl gifts until after the players arrive in Dallas. With this much secrecy, the gifts better be darned good.
East Carolina-Kentucky, Jan. 2 in Memphis, Tenn.
The gear:
Fossil watch
Camcorder/media player
Game ball
Nike running shoes
Nike sports sandals
Nike sports band
Nike sunglasses
The verdict: Talk about brand loyalty: East Carolina and Kentucky have deals with Nike for team merchandise, too.
Alabama-Utah, Jan. 2 in New Orleans
The gear:
Sony Blu-ray player
Sony Walkman digital MP3 player
Custom watch
The verdict: This definitely is one of the better gift packs of the bowl season … until Nick Saban makes Crimson Tide players break down game film in Blu-ray.
Buffalo-Connecticut, Jan. 3 in Toronto
The gear:
Rolling duffel
Computer backpack
The verdict: This is the "You Should Be Happy Just To Be In A Bowl" gift bag. And, presumably, all this stuff is easy to get through Customs.
Ohio State-Texas, Jan. 5 in Glendale, Ariz.
The gear:
MyVu Personal Media Viewer
iPod Nano
Snack pack
Game hat
The verdict: The MyVu viewer lets users watch video from their iPods in a pair of sunglasses. The Longhorns won't know whether to laugh or cry when it's preloaded with highlights from this year's Red River Shootout.
Ball State-Tulsa, Jan. 6 in Mobile, Ala.
The gear:
Luggage tags
The verdict: Geez. Talk about a no-frills gift pack.
Florida-Oklahoma, Jan. 8 in Miami
The gear:
$300 Sony Gifting Suite
New Era fitted hat
Torneau watch
Championship Crocs
Ogio backpack
Luggage tags
The verdict: Same gear as the Orange Bowl, different logos. Doesn't seem fair, does it?
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