December 14, 2009

Bowl gifts part of tradition for players

Fans like to pile on the bowl system, but they're not the ones receiving a laptop for finishing tied for fifth in the Pac-10 or an electronics shopping spree for finishing third in the ACC Coastal.

December is a time for giving, and the bowls join in the action by showering players with gifts upon arrival.

The NCAA permits bowls to provide each player with up to $500 worth of gifts to be awarded at the bowl site. Whether that limit is met is up to the bowls. Whether players select their gifts or the games set up a shopping spree is up to the bowls, too.

The latter is becoming more of the norm. At least half of the 34 bowls are giving players shopping sprees, opening a gift suite or allowing players to pick gifts out of a catalogue. The Capital One and Champs Sports bowls, both organized by Florida Citrus Sports, were among the first to allow players to pick their gifts.

"We're somewhat widely credited for gift suites and a shopping spree," said Steve Hogan, CEO of Florida Citrus Sports. "We kind of said, 'Look, it just doesn't make sense to kind of guess on an electronic item, a branded item and just guess what kids want.' "

The Sugar Bowl has Weber grills in its gift suite, and Maaco Bowl Las Vegas participants can choose to take home a recliner from their gift suite.

Some bowls are trying to stay ahead of the trends, especially if a gadget will come in handy on a long road trip.

A year after giving players headphones and standard souvenir swag, the Emerald Bowl is giving away Hewlett Packard mini netbooks, which essentially are tiny laptops. EagleBank Bowl participants will get a Slingbox, a device that allows users to watch TV on a computer or mobile phone, and Powermat, a wireless charging station for cell phones give FLO TV, a mobile personal television, and one-year subscriptions to the service.

Some bowls are giving players the opportunity to take home some local flavor. The Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho, has given players parkas, gloves, beanies and hand warmers. When Miami played in the game in 2007, perhaps Hurricanes players thought those were odd gifts, but Idaho and Bowling Green players will get some use out of them once they leave Boise. The Texas Bowl sends teams home with an oversized belt buckle. The Hawaii Bowl, naturally, provides Hawaiian shirts, beach towels, sunglasses and a lei.

The Cotton Bowl, though, wants to preserve the suspense. The Dallas-based bowl refuses to reveal its gifts until the teams arrive on site.

Here's a complete list of the bowl games that do reveal their gifts; some didn't respond to numerous requests from Rivals.com, so in those cases, responses to other media outlets were used. Those bowls are marked by asterisks.

NEW MEXICO
Fresno State vs. Wyoming, Dec. 19, Albuquerque, N.M.
The gifts*
Sony gift suite
Oakley beanie
Oakley sunglasses
Oakley backpack
OGIO garment bag
ST. PETERSBURG
Rutgers vs. UCF, Dec. 19, St. Petersburg, Fla.
The gifts*
iLuv iPod/DVD player
Oakley watch
Oakley sunglasses
Oakley backpack
NEW ORLEANS
Southern Miss vs. Middle Tennessee, Dec. 20, New Orleans
The gifts
Flip HD mini-camcorder
Oakley sunglasses and backpack
Balfour ring
MAACO BOWL LAS VEGAS
BYU vs. Oregon State, Dec. 22, Las Vegas
The gifts
Gift suite, up to $350 worth of audio/visual electronics, bicycles, appliances, a recliner and luggage.
POINSETTIA
Utah vs. California, Dec. 23, San Diego
The gifts
Flo TV personal television and one year of service
Tourneau watch
Best Buy gift card
Sports Tek hoodie
Cap
HAWAII
Nevada vs. SMU, Dec. 24, Honolulu
The gifts
i-Luv i1166 Multi-Media DVD player
Kicker EB101 Ear Bud headphones
Oakley sunglasses
Kahala Aloha shirt
A4 Performance shirt
Commemorative T-shirt
Backpack
Beach towel
Visor
Calendar
Lei
LITTLE CAESARS PIZZA
Ohio vs. Marshall, Dec. 26, Detroit
The gifts
Sony gift package selected from brochure
Timely Co. watch
Souvenir football
MEINEKE CAR CARE
Pittsburgh vs. North Carolina, Dec. 26, Charlotte, N.C.
The gifts
Option of Bose Quiet Comfort headphones set or Bose Sound Dock or iPod
Touch, iLive speakers and $20 gift card
Fossil watch
OGIO duffle bag
Commemorative photo
EMERALD
USC vs. Boston College, Dec. 26, San Francisco
The gifts
Hewlett Packard mini netbook
Armor Gear backpack
Fossil watch
Hat
MUSIC CITY
Clemson vs. Kentucky, Dec. 27, Nashville, Tenn.
The gifts
RCA Flip camera
Fossil watch
OGIO backpack
Majestic fleece
INDEPENDENCE
Georgia vs. Texas A&M, Dec. 28, Shreveport, La.
The gifts
Player gift suite, which includes Sony gifts such as a Blu Ray player, Bravia sound system and electronics
Watch
Hat
Souvenir football
EAGLEBANK
Temple vs. UCLA, Dec. 29, Washington, D.C.
The gifts
SlingMedia Slingbox SOLO with Slinglink Turbo 1 Port
Powermat
Commemorative football
Kanata tailgate blanket
Hat
CHAMPS SPORTS
Miami vs. Wisconsin, Dec. 29, Orlando, Fla.
The gifts
$420 Best Buy shopping spree
Commemorative watch
HUMANITARIAN
Idaho vs. Bowling Green, Dec. 30, Boise, Idaho
The gifts
Choice of: Sony Bravia theater system, Sony portable DVD player and two sets of Sony headphones or Garmin NUVi 1250
Parka
Winter gloves and hand warmers
OGIO backpack
Skull cap
Nike pullover
Souvenir football
HOLIDAY
Arizona vs. Nebraska, Dec. 30, San Diego
The gifts
Flo TV personal television and one year of service
Best Buy gift card
Tourneau watch
Sports Tek hoodie
Cap
ARMED FORCES
Houston vs. Air Force, Dec. 31, Fort Worth, Texas
The gifts
Sony players' gift suite
Watch
OGIO backpack
Commemorative football
Knit cap
Luggage tag
Calendar
SUN
Stanford vs. Oklahoma, Dec. 31, El Paso, Texas
The gifts
Gift Suite (players get to select their gift from a menu of items)
Timely Watch Co. watch
Brut hair dryer
Majestic Pro-Base fleece pullover
Backpack
Cap
Souvenir coin
TEXAS
Missouri vs. Navy, Dec. 31, Houston
The gifts
$300 Best Buy shopping spree
Under Armour backpack
Under Armour shirt and hat
Fossil watch
T-shirt
Texas Bowl belt buckle
INSIGHT
Iowa State vs. Minnesota, Dec. 31, Tempe, Ariz.
The gifts
Electronics package from Davene, Inc.
Fossil watch
Game hat
OGIO backpack
CHICK-FIL-A
Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee, Dec. 31, Atlanta
The gifts
$250 Best Buy gift card
Chick-fil-A gift card
Fossil watch
Russell Athletic travel bag
Souvenir football
Knit cap
OUTBACK
Auburn vs. Northwestern, Jan. 1, Tampa, Fla.
The gifts
Best Buy gift card
Outback Steakhouse gift card
Jostens ring
Pro-Swiss watch
Hat
CAPITAL ONE
LSU vs. Penn State, Jan. 1, Orlando, Fla.
The gifts
$420 Best Buy shopping spree
Watch
GATOR
West Virginia vs. Florida State, Jan. 1, Jacksonville, Fla.
The gifts*
Fossil watch
Oakley sunglasses
ROSE
Oregon vs. Ohio State, Jan. 1, Pasadena, Calif.
The gifts
19-inch Sharp television combo
Fossil watch
OGIO backpack
Hat
Commemorative plaque
SUGAR
Cincinnati vs. Florida, Jan. 1, New Orleans
The gifts
Gift Suite featuring Sony, Trek and Weber products
Timely Watch Co. watch
OGIO backpack
Cap
INTERNATIONAL
USF vs. Northern Illinois, Jan. 2, Toronto
The gifts
Gift brochure: electronics, travel gear
Watch
Commemorative football
PAPAJOHNS.COM
Connecticut vs. South Carolina, Jan. 2, Birmingham, Ala.
The gifts
RCA HD video camera
Pro-Swiss watch
Oakley backpack
Souvenir football
COTTON
Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss, Jan. 2, Dallas
The gifts: The Cotton Bowl does not reveal its gift package before giving it to bowl participants.
LIBERTY
East Carolina vs. Arkansas, Jan. 2, Memphis, Tenn.
The gifts
Westinghouse 19-inch HDTV (also can be used as a computer monitor)
Nike Sports Pack: running shoes, sports sandals, sunglasses
Fossil watch
Game ball
ALAMO
Texas Tech vs. Michigan State, Jan. 2, San Antonio
The gifts
32 gig iPod Touch
Dr. Dre Monster Beats headphones
Oakley "Antics" sunglasses
Fossil watch
Mini-helmet
Panoramic photo
FIESTA
TCU vs. Boise State, Jan. 4, Glendale, Ariz.
The gifts
Electronics package from Davene, Inc.
Fossil watch
OGIO backpack
Hat
ORANGE
Georgia Tech vs. Iowa, Jan. 5, Miami
The gifts
Gift suite including iPods, iPod accessories, flat-screen TV, home theater system, mountain bike and luggage
Tourneau watch
OGIO backpack
Hat
GMAC
Central Michigan vs. Troy, Jan. 6, Mobile, Ala.
The gifts: (not a complete list)
RCA Small Wonder HD-720p pocket camcorder
Micro SD Memory Card
Watch
Football
Garment bag
DOP kit
Cap
BCS CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Alabama vs. Texas, Jan. 7, Pasadena, Calif.
The gifts
Gift suite with products from Sony, Trek mountain bikes and Garmin
Fossil watch
OGIO backpack
Hat

David Fox is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at dfox@rivals.com.




 

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