David Lavender and Andrew Skwara
Santa Claus, eat your heart out. College football players are racking up on all kinds of gifts this season, and they're not coming from the North Pole.
Bowl games have presented gift packages to players for years. This season, however, the ante has been upped considerably. Bowls are now allowed to dish out $500 in presents per player, up from $350 last year. Shirts, jackets and towels ? once the gifting norm ? are now a bit blas?
So, grandparents of Ducks and Sooners: Hold off on picking up that new 30 gigabyte iPod for your favorite grandson, because the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl has crossed that item off his wish list. Moms of Wolverines and Huskers, don't sweat the Xbox 360 shortage ? the MasterCard Alamo Bowl has your back.
Portable DVD players, customized mountain bikes, designer sunglasses and watches ? many of the bowls have spared no expense in going Oprah on the gift giving. The quick math: Each bowl must provide 125 gift packages per team. For those that reached the $500 limit, that amounts to $125,000 in bowl goodies.
Check out the players' gift packages for every bowl game this season, and you'll see why the big man in red must be green with envy.