2011's Best Bowl Swag - When A Scholarship and Unlimited Co-Eds Aren't Enough

By Anthony Guerreso | Dec 07, 2011

Don’t you dare get me wrong, I think college football players deserve everything they get, sanctioned or unsanctioned. Most college football players work harder in one season than I

Mad Swaggaliscious

will work cumulatively in my entire life. Nowhere else in the world is your ability to get money commensurate with your talent more restricted than in American college athletics (please don’t fact check that). However, how do all these NCAA regulations on benefits jive with the sweet swag that every collegiate football player gets for making it to a bowl game?

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Cue Mark Emmert:

“This swag, as you kids call it, is a generous gift from our sponsors for all of our student-athlete football players who reach a bowl game, rewarding them for a season’s worth of hard work. Each gift package is vigorously reviewed by NCAA employees, employees, (smoke comes out of Emmert’s ears), employees, employees (face begins to melt), empl…(face explodes, revealing mechanic underface), abort!!!…(propeller shoots through the back of Emmert’s suit, allowing him to escape by bursting through press room window).”

So there’s that.  In any event, the swag just keeps on coming, so let’s review the best, and worst swag this year and the best swag of year’s past.  For your reference, the NCAA limits a gift package to $550 MSRP, although some bowl adminstrators, like your Aunt Tilly at Christmas, don’t quite reach the suggested limit.

h/t: Sports Business Daily

The Worst of the Bowl Swag:

Gildan New Mexico Bowl
University Stadium, Albuquerque, N.M.
Saturday, Dec. 17, 2 p.m., ESPN
Gift suite, Oakley Eyepatch 2, Oakley beanie, New Era cap, Oakley Flak Pack 3.0, pen with box, Christmas ornament (I hope it has a picture of the Albuquerque skyline on it so players can always remember the 48 hours of life they wasted there)

Insight Bowl
Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Ariz.
Friday, Dec. 30, 10 p.m., ESPN
Gift suite, Fossil watch, cap, Ogio Convoy backpack

MAACO Las Vegas Bowl
Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas
Thursday, Dec. 22, 8 p.m., ESPN
Gift suite, cap

TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl
EverBank Field, Jacksonville
Monday, Jan. 2, 1 p.m., ESPN2
Fossil watch, Gator Gear performance headwear, rolling luggage bag, Jostens ring, commemorative football

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TicketCity Bowl
Cotton Bowl, Dallas
Monday, Jan. 2, noon, ESPNU
Gift suite, Timely Watch Co. watch

Hyundai Sun Bowl
Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, Texas
Saturday, Dec. 31, 2 p.m., CBS
Gift suite, Timely Watch Co. watch, Majestic Pro-Base fleece pullover, VP Sports cap, Ogio Politan backpack, Helen of Troy hair dryer, souvenir coin

(a hair dryer, really? more on that below)

Granted, “gift suite,” swag could mean anything from fashionable Girbaud jeans to stripper bucks.  More likely, if they’re unwilling to release info about said “gift suite,” it probably means a pine tree car air freshener and a size S TicketCity Bowl from 2010.  In the pantheon of bowl swag, these are the bastard step-children, and more specifically the lesser of the bastard step-children that the abusive meth-head father makes eat dinner in the garage.

Middle of the Road Swag

R+L Carriers
New Orleans
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans
Saturday, Dec. 17, 9 p.m., ESPN
Samsung Galaxy tablet

Chick-fil-A Bowl
Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Saturday, Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
$250 Best Buy gift card, Fossil watch, Russell Athletic ski cap, Russell Athletic travel bag, $15 Chick-fil-A gift card, commemorative football

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Bronco Stadium, Boise, Idaho
Saturday, Dec. 17, 5:30 p.m., ESPN
Gift suite, North End winter coat, Kombi gloves, Nike beanie, Ogio Fugitive backpack, Big Game souvenir football

GoDaddy.com Bowl
Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Ala.
Sunday, Jan. 8, 9 p.m., ESPN
Nikon S80 (ladies on the camera come standard), Timely Watch Co. watch, leather luggage bag, commemorative football

Outback Bowl
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
Monday, Jan. 2, 1 p.m., ABC
$150 Best Buy gift card, Fossil watch, Jostens ring, cap, $25 Outback Steakhouse gift certificate

The Good Shit – Corporate sponsors, like your rich uncle Dennis, who push the gift limit

Champs Sports Bowl
Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando
Thursday, Dec. 29, 5:30 p.m., ESPN
$420 shopping trip to a local Best Buy, Timely Watch Co. watch

■ Valero Alamo Bowl
Alamodome, San Antonio Thursday, Dec. 29, 9 p.m., ESPN
$400 Best Buy gift card, Fossil watch, Schutt mini-helmet, panoramic team photo

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas
Reliant Stadium, Houston
Saturday, Dec. 31, noon, ESPN
Toshiba 32-inch flat-screen television, Fossil watch, belt buckle, T-shirt, backpack

Beef ‘O’Brady’s Bowl
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Tuesday, Dec. 20, 8 p.m., ESPN
Sony PlayStation 3, Oakley Eyepatch 2, Oakley backpack duffel, mini-helmet

Who would have thought the the boys over at Beef ‘O’ Brady would put together the best bowl package?  As noted above, it’s entirely possible “gift suites” include any number of consumer items that aren’t released to the normal-athletic-abilitied public.  IPhone6W? (because the kinetic energy of your texting hydroponically grows (W)eed inside the phone) Don’t mind if I do Cotton Bowl.  Regardless, I’m impressed with BOB, but you shouldn’t expect anything less from the people that brought you The Dubliner.

My favorite all-time bowl swag is still the haul from the 2008 Sun Bowl, or all bowls:

Sun Bowl (Pittsburgh vs. Oregon State)
Gifts: Sony DVD Handycam, Timely Watch Co. watch, Majestic fleece pullover, VP Sports cap, Armor Gear Dolly Llama luggage, Brut hair dryer

Love that hair-dryer, as well the participants in the Hyundai Sun Bowl.  Behold the hair dryer that launched 1000 ships



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