clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ranking the Gift Packages of All 35 Bowl Games

From hair dryers to tablets to Playstation 4s, we rank the gift packages of all 35 bowl games

Oranges aren't mentioned as part of this year's Orange Bowl gift pack.
Oranges aren't mentioned as part of this year's Orange Bowl gift pack.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Per its annual custom, Sports Business Daily rounded up a list of all the gift packages given to participants in this year's bowl games. The gifts range from tablets to gifts cards to hair dryers to footballs. Yes, hairdryers and footballs...for football players.

While most of the gift packages have a fixed set of items, many of the gift packages include the "gift suite."
Gift suites are set up as private events in which game participants, and often bowl VIPs, are given an order form and allowed to select a gift, or gifts, up to a value that is predetermined by each specific bowl, not to exceed the NCAA limit of $550 per person
Contrary to what one may expect, the best bowls do not necessarily get the best gift packages. In fact, the Poinsettia Bowl regularly has one of the best gift packages.

Our own team hasn't given me much to write about recently. So instead of previewing our bowl opponent or writing profiles of replacement defensive coordinators for Andy Buh, I'm going to rank these gift packages. These rankings are based on a combination of the utility and value of the items, with an added bonus for gift packages with a high-quality gift (as opposed to a bunch of mediocre items). Your own rankings may vary, so feel free to disagree with me in the comments. Also, if you have any tips about Buh getting fired, also let me know about that in the comments. I really want to put together some profiles on candidates for the DC position.

1. National University Holiday Bowl: (14) Arizona State vs. Texas Tech

$305 Best Buy gift card; Reactor Meltdown watch; Maui Jim sunglasses; cap

The bowls at Qualcomm Stadium always have great gift baskets. This year is no different. Recipients get a hefty Best Buy gift card and some expensive accessories. The Reactor Meltdown watch retails from $250 to $350, depending on the exact model and the sunglasses range from $150 to $300. In a best-case scenario, participants are getting nearly $1000 in goods. At worst, they're still getting over $600 in goods. Not bad for a couple 7-win teams.

2. Russell Athletic Bowl: Miami vs. (19) Louisville

$450 Best Buy gift card and shopping trip; Timely Watch Co. watch; Russell Athletic workout shirt

$450 is the biggest gift card (and most valuable item) any of these bowls are giving away. As long as they stay away from the Monster Cables and other overpriced junk they'll get plenty of value out of that gift. That certainly makes up for the Athletic Bowl t-shirt and watch from a company with no brand recognition.

2. Capital One Bowl: (19) Wisconsin vs. (9) South Carolina

$450 Best Buy gift card and shopping trip; Timely Watch Co. watch; Russell Athletic workout shirt

The Capital One Bowl participants earn the exact same goods as the Athletic Bowl participants. This usually happens when the same venue hosts multiple bowls. That takes some of the luster off a premiere BCS bowl, although you won't hear the Athletic Bowl participants complaining.

4. Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman: Marshall vs. Maryland

Sony PlayStation 4; winter hat; Ogio backpack

Playstation 4! These guys hit the jackpot! The PS4 is worth $400 and players could probably turn it around for $450 or $500 on craigslist (although that comes with a non-zero risk of death). They also get a hat (wow!) and a backpack.

5. Chick-fil-A Bowl: (24) Duke vs. (21) Texas A & M

Fossil watch; Russell Athletic cap; Russell Athletic bag; football, $300 Visa gift card, Chick-fil-A gift card

Participants here get one of the most versatile gifts handed out in these bowls: a $300 Visa gift card. That rounds out a mix of gifts including a watch, hat, bag, football, and, of course, a Chick-fil-A gift card. It's always nice when these main sponsors toss in their own product.

6. San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: Utah State vs. (23) Northern Illinois

$205 Best Buy gift card; Reactor Heavy Water watch; Maui Jim sunglasses; cap

This year the Poinsettia Bowl package differs slightly from the Holiday Bowl package. The gift card is worth 50% less, but this is still a gift basket that is potentially very valuable.

7. Valero Alamo Bowl: (10) Oregon vs. Texas

iPad Mini with retina display, Apple gift card; Fossil watch; panoramic photo, Schutt mini helmet

iPad mini! Sure, I'd rather have a Nexus 7, but the mini is the second-most expensive gift behind the Playstation 4. The rest of the loot isn't too bad. But Valero couldn't throw in a gift card to their gas station? I'm sure Oregon players could use it to help them in their high-speed encounters with the Oregon State Troopers.

8. BBVA Compass Bowl: Vanderbilt vs. Houston

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3; Fossil watch; Oakley sunglasses; ESPN cap; Big Game football

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 is one of the most popular items in this year's gift baskets. It's not completely clear which version they get: 7 inch, 8 inch, or 10 inch. I'm guessing it's the 7 or 8 inch variant. The 7 is roughly comparable to the ipad mini while the 8 has moderately better specs. The watch and sunglasses are relatively nice. It's a shame they get a Big Game football, though. They should have burned those after our blowout loss to the furds.

9. Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl: East Carolina vs. Ohio

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3; Oakley Breadbox sunglasses; Oakley Status backpack; Schutt mini helmet

I wonder if that mini helmet will fit on a cat...

10. Texas Bowl: Syracuse vs. Minnesota

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3; Fossil watch; belt buckle, T-shirt; Ogio backpack; lapel pin

Many of these Samsung tablet gift baskets are about the same: tablet and some combination of watch, sunglasses, backpack, and another item or two.

11. Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: (20) Fresno State vs. (25) USC

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3; beanie, cap; Oakley Flak Pack XL backpack; football, Zappos gift card

I was hoping Royal Purple was a branch of the Royal Crown cola company, specifically the branch that makes purple drank. If they added a case of purple drank to this gift basket, it would rise to the top of these rankings.

12. AT&T Cotton Bowl: (13) Oklahoma State vs. (8) Missouri

Representatives of the AT&T Cotton Bowl also would not disclose the contents of their gift packages, but a source at a school that played in last year’s Cotton Bowl said the participants received a Fossil watch, Beats by Dre headphones and an iPad Mini

The Cotton Bowl is the one bowl whose gift basket remains a mystery. The source suggests it has some pretty good items: the ipad is a decent gift (hopefully it's the latest mini), the watch is decent, and the headphones are okay (but popular among players despite their questionable quality).

13. Outback Bowl: Iowa vs. (16) LSU

$150 Best Buy gift card; Fossil watch; cap; Jostens ring, Outback Steakhouse gift card

This pales in value to some of the other gift packages, but this is still a decent collection. And who can say no to a bloomin' onion?

14. Bowl: Arkansas State vs. Ball State

Sol Republic deck; Timely Watch Co. watch; Mercury Luggage Seward Trunk luggage bag; Wilson football

The Sol Republic speaker dock is another one of those extremely popular portable speakers used with phones and the like . Hopefully Timely's watches are of higher quality than its website, which looks like it has not been updated in a decade. The custom trunk could be a great item, but most players may be a couple decades too young to appreciate a good trunk.

15. AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Rice vs. Mississippi State

Sol Republic Tracks HD headphones; Bulova watch; Nike sunglasses; Nike athletic shoes and sport sandals; Nike Kevin Durant backpack; football

Nothing great, nothing terrible. However, it's not a real AutoZone gift basket without some duralast part for an old jalopy.

16. Fight Hunger Bowl: BYU vs. Washington

Soundmatters wireless portable speaker system; Fossil watch; Maxx HD Wayfarer sunglasses; messenger bag; Macy’s gift card

A decent collection of accessories, but nothing stands out here.

17. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Buffalo vs. San Diego State

Gift suite; Port Authority winter coat, Tiger Woods Nike Golf beanie, Scott winter ski gloves; iPack backpack; Big Game football

The beanie, winter coat, and ski gloves will be great for those up to their eyeballs in snow in Buffalo. I don't know what the SDSU players will do with all that winter gear.

18. Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Boise State vs. Oregon State

Gift suite; Oakley sunglasses; Tori Richard aloha shirt, Pro Athletics shorts and performance T-shirt; Ogio backpack; beach towel

Like the winter clothes for the San Diego residents, that beach gear will sit in closets in Corvallis and Boise.

19. AdvoCare V100 Bowl: Arizona vs. Boston College

Gift suite; Timely Watch Co. watch; New Era skull cap; football

Now we're getting to the bowls where the gift suite is probably the best item in the package. Without further details on the value of the gift suite, it's hard to rate these.

20. Gator Bowl: Nebraska vs. (22) Georgia

Fossil watch; Dome hat; Mercury Luggage Seward Trunk luggage set; football, Jostens ring

Another decent collection where no single item stands out.

21. Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: Pittsburgh vs. Bowling Green

Timely Watch Co. watch; leather luggage set; football

No one-year supply of pizza? I'm disappointed in you, little Caesar.

22. Hyundai Sun Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. (17) UCLA

Gift suite; Timely Watch Co. watch; Top of the World cap, Majestic fleece pullover; Ogio backpack; coin, Helen of Troy hair dryer

Even though the title sponsor has changed, I'm glad the Sun Bowl continues the proud tradition of handing out hair dryers.

23. Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl: Middle Tennessee State vs. Navy

Gift suite, RadioShack gift card; ESPN cap; Ogio overnighter bag; Big Game football

More Big Game footballs?

24. Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Washington State vs. Colorado State

Gift suite, portable mobile device charger, 8 GB USB; Oakley Breadbox sunglasses; cap, Oakley Fine Knit beanie; Oakley Flak Pack XL backpack; Gildan stadium blanket

Phone chargers, USB drives, blankets? This looks like a bunch of tchotchkes. How much does an 8GB drive even cost these days, $10? It's bad enough that they have to go to New Mexico. They should at least get some nice gear in return.

25. Vizio BCS National Championship Game: (1) Florida State vs. (2) Auburn

Gift suite; Fossil watch; New Era 59Fifty Hat; Oakley Flak Pack XL backpack

Hopefully that gift suite is loaded because this otherwise a pretty lackluster gift bag for the premiere bowl.

26. Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio: (5) Stanford vs. (4) Michigan State

Gift suite; Fossil watch; New Era 59Fifty cap; Ogio backpack

Again, not much aside from the gift suite.

26. Allstate Sugar Bowl: (11) Oklahoma vs. (3) Alabama

Gift suite; Fossil watch; New Era 39Thirty cap; Ogio backpack

Yawn. Another BCS bowl with a lackluster offering (although a robust gift suite could make up for that).

28. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Michigan vs. Kansas State

Gift suite; Fossil watch; Ogio Cube backpack

Ho hum.

28. Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: (15) UCF vs. (6) Baylor

Gift suite; Fossil watch; Ogio Cube backpack

I hope the BCS bowl gives a big payout in the gift suite.

30. Heart of Dallas Bowl: UNLV vs. North Texas

Gift suite; Fitbit Flex watch; ESPN cap; football

The Fitbit watch may be useful, given how much exercise these guys get.

31. Belk Bowl: Cincinnati vs. North Carolina

Shopping trip to Belk department store; Fossil watch

A shopping trip to Belk isn't too bad.

32. R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Tulane vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

Gift suite; Fossil watch


32. Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Georgia Tech

Gift suite; Fossil watch

Music City Bowl and they don't get any saxamaphones or oboemaboes? That's too bad.

34. Discover Orange Bowl: (12) Clemson vs. (7) Ohio State

Gift suite; Tourneau watch

The oranges in the Orange Bowl trophy aren't mentioned here. That is extremely suspicious.

35. New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers vs. Notre Dame

Variety of New Era products

A "variety" of New Era products doesn't sound too bad...until you realize the company only makes hats. That's all they're getting. Hats.

Of course, all these gifts are better than sitting home for the third time in the past four years. Beyond the goodies, the Bears would have received several weeks more of practices, which would be very helpful for this young team. Additionally, it would have given Kline several weeks of first-team reps and a start in the game as Goff recovers from shoulder surgery. But no, the Bears are stuck at home and are missing out on practices, experiences, watches, backpacks, and hats. Oh, so many hats.