NCAA Football Bowl Gifts: Who gives the best haul?


With bowl season upon us, many are focused on deciding which games are the most exciting and who will win the National Championship. However, I will take a different direction. As the Sports Business Journal recently released the bowl gifts, I will rank the bowls, not in terms of the best games, but which bowl gives away the best gifts. Each game has a distinct package of gifts in which the players receive along with the possibility of a gift suite in which those involved are given a form to choose the gifts they would like to receive.

Notes: The NCAA allows each bowl to give up to $550 worth of gifts. The schools, however, can purchase additional gifts to distribute. The Boca Raton Bowl, GoodYear Cotton Bowl Classic and CFP Championship Game packages have not been disclosed. Now for the rankings in reverse order. ‘

36. Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl 

35. Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl – Ogio Marshall Pack Backpack, Beanie, Big Game Football Gift Suite? Yes

Not exactly the sexiest slate of gifts from the Armed Forces or Heart of Dallas Bowls. The Ogio Marshall Backpack doesn’t exactly rank as highly on my list as say the Oakley Works backpack. Plus who doesn’t already have multiple beanies and what football player needs more footballs?

34. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – Ohio backpack, Winter coat, Winter Gloves, Beanie, Big Game Football Gift Suite? Yes

This was a toss-up with the Armed Forces Bowl, but with the cold weather, the winter equipment is certainly a plus. Not that much of a plus, considering it still is the 2nd lowest bowl on my list.

33. AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl – adidas Team Speed Duffel Bag, cap, belt buckle Gift Suite? Yes

I know the belt buckle is now a staple of the Texas Bowl, but to me, this list isn’t very appealing. The duffel bag and and cap are both common items. Also, how many of these players really wear belt buckles?

32. Popeyes Bahamas Bowl – Ogio Marshall Pack Backpack, New Era 39Thirty cap Gift Suite? Yes

Once again the Ogio Marshall Backpack comes in as a relatively unsexy gift. It seems like a quality backpack, but nothing to bang the table about. It gets a little uptick over Armed Forces and Heart of Dallas because I weigh the 39Thirty cap heavier than a beanie and a football.

31. New Era Pinstripe Bowl – Variety of New Era products Gift Suite? No

Sorry Penn Staters, but the Pinstripe Bowl lacks in gift giving. Sure New Era has some nice products, but this is incredibly vague and really, how many hats and other New Era products could you really need? The gifts start to get better from here on out.

30. Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl – Oakley Works Backpack Gift Suite? Yes

Don’t get me wrong, the Oakley Works backpack is incredibly nice and extremely expensive, but compared to the suites in front of it, it pales in comparison. Giving a backpack may be useful gift, but it’s not all that exciting.

29. R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

28. Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl

27. Foster Farms Bowl – All 3 games offer a Fossil Watch and Gift Suite

Fossil Watches are a quality gift, and I find the watches to be quality, durable watches, but from here on out, the gift packages get harder to top. Fossil Watches are solid gifts, but the level starts to really tick up now.

26. Duck Commander Independence Bowl – Timely Watch Co. Watch, New Era ski cap, football Gift Suite? Yes

Not quite as flashy or nice as the Fossil watch, Timely Watch Co. Watches are still a nice gift. Independence gets the nod over the trio of fossil watches due to the addition of the skip cap and the football. Sometimes quantity is better than quality.

25. Allstate Sugar Bowl – Fossil Watch, New Era cap Gift Suite? Yes

Lots of bowl games love the Fossil watch and that’s not entirely a bad thing. Add the New Era Cap in and it narrowly edges out the Timely Watch and the ski cap. However, not what I was expecting from a bowl of the Sugar Bowl’s stature.

24. Vizio Fiesta Bowl – 

23. TicketCity Cactus Bowl – Fossil Watch, Ogio Rouge Backpack, Gift Suite? Yes

When the Fiesta Bowl and the Cactus Bowl give away the same products, you know the top bowls are slacking on gifts. Yet again, I’m surprised by the lack of marquee gifts from the “big” bowls. You could do worse than a fossil watch and a new backpack though.

22. RayCom Media Camellia Bowl – Fossil watch, Cap, Souvenir pylon, Football, Gift Suite? Yes

Maybe you’d take the backpack over a souvenir pylon, but I think that it’s a cool idea for the new bowl in town to give out a pylon. Call me crazy, but I’m taking something (a pylon) I can’t buy over something (backpack) I can buy. Cool idea from the Camellia Bowl. Kudos.

21. Birmingham Bowl – Oakley Sunglasses, Beanie, Hooded sweatshirt, Big Game Football, Gift Suite? Yes

Regardless of which model of Oakley sunglasses these are, they’re still a pretty sweet gift. The rest of the slate isn’t as exciting or overwhelming, but everyone loves a good hooded sweatshirt. As mentioned before, the beanie and football aren’t deal breakers for me.

20. Capital One Orange Bowl – Tourneau Watch, Gift Suite? Yes

You would like to see more variety here, but Tourneau watches are super nice and super expensive. Good gift, but as said before sometimes quantity can be better than quality.

19. Hyundai Sun Bowl – Timely Watch Co. Watch, Ogio Politan Backpack, Helen of Troy Hair dryer, Majestic Fleece Pullover, Top of the World Cap, Gift Suite? Yes

This is one of those times where the quantity is better than the quality. In my opinion, the Tourneau watch is a marginally nicer choice than the Timely Watch Co. watch, but add in the rest of the gifts and they make the leap. Not sure the use of the hair dryer for most football players, though.

18. GoDaddy Bowl – Sol Republic Tracks Air wireless/bluetooth on-ear headphones, watch, Coleman chair, military style backpack, Wilson football, Gift Suite? No

The GoDaddy Bowl steps up here and offers something most players would definitely use and that is wireless headphones. That’s certainly the big get in this lot as the rest of the gifts are solid, but certainly nothing to write home about. I guess the military style backpack is pretty cool.

17. Rose Bowl – Fossil Watch, Oakley Works backpack, New Era 59Fifty cap, Gift Suite? Yes

Finally someone steps up and adds some value along with the Fossil watch. The Oakley Works backpack is an okay gift in itself, but piece it together with the fossil watch and a nice 59Fifty cap and you get a pretty decent get here. Coming it at 18 shows just how good some of the top bowl packages are.

16. TaxSlayer Bowl – Panasonic Gift Suite, Fossil Watch, Gift Suite? Yes

Panasonic makes some good products so being able to mix and match whatever they offer is definitely a plus for players. Lots of players have different tastes so I tend to view packages with more options or gift cards higher. The Fossil watch, as you have already realized, is really a staple of this year’s packages.

15. Miami Beach Bowl – Under Armour sunglasses, Under Armour cap, Oakley Halifax backpack, electronics product, Gift Suite? No

Under Armour products are always good and they make sunglasses specifically tailored for athletes. The Oakley backpack is another quality product and the “electronics product” is incredibly vague, but you have to imagine it will be something useful.

14. Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl – Oakley Breadbox sunglasses, Oakley Works backpack, Gift Suite? Yes

This portion of the grouping was completely ranked by my style preference. The Oakley Breadbox sunglasses are nice, but not my favorite style of Oakley, therefore I won’t rank them above the Holbrook style. This would be completely subject to player preference.

13. Hawaii Bowl – Oakley Holbrook sunglasses, Oakley Works backpack, Tori Richard aloha shirt, Pro Athletics t-shirt/shorts/swim trunks, beach towel, Gift Suite? Yes

As I mentioned, the Oakley Holbrook ranks a little higher than the Breadbox, but the rest of these gifts are pretty cool too. You have to love the signature aloha shirt, regardless if anyone will ever wear it. Then the grouping of workout and beach gear is icing on the cake. Oh yeah, and they’re playing in Hawaii which is a nice bonus.

12. Gildan New Mexico Bowl – AudioSource Sound portable/mobile speaker, mobile phone charger, Oakley Works backpack, Oakley Enduro sunglasses/beanie, cap, Gildan blanket, Gift Suite? Yes

I’m a fan of this package because it’s all things people use on a daily basis. I like the Enduro Sunglasses and everything else is just practical and useful in everyday life. The portable speaker is pretty cool and everything else is just plain useful.

11. Belk Bowl – Shopping trip to Belk department store, Fossil watch, Gift Suite? No

Anytime you get to pick out exactly what you want, it’s a solid gift, but I can’t say I’ve ever been in a Belk department store so I wouldn’t be entirely sure what to expect. Add in everyone’s favorite Fossil watch and you should have some happy participants.

10. Outback Bowl – $150 Best Buy gift card, Outback Steakhouse gift card, Fossil watch, Jostens rings, cap, Gift Suite? No

Finally, the top 10. A Best Buy gift card for large amounts of money just seems like a college kid’s dream. Toss in a food gift card and you’re going home a happy individual. The Fossil watch and ring is pretty cool as well.

9. Quick Lane Bowl – $250 Best Buy gift card, Sony headphones, custom-made Fathead for each player with their likeness, various apparel, football, Gift Suite? No

The Best Buy gift card amounts keep rising and that’s a great thing in these rankings. However, that’s not the headliner of the Quick Lane Bowl. How cool is it (but kinda creepy) to get a custom-made Fathead with your likeness? You can hang that in your own personal shrine or just keep as a nice keepsake. Nicely done.

8. Auto Zone Liberty Bowl – Sol Republic Deck Ultra wireless bluetooth speaker, Bulova watch, Nike athletic shoes/sport sandals/backpack, game ball, Gift Suite? No

No gift card here, but this is a seriously fruitful haul. You get a nice wireless speaker from a big time player in the speaker market, one of the nicest affordable watches around and some Nike swag to take home with you.

7. San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl – $395 Best Buy gift card, Fossil watch, cap, Gift Suite? No

Nearly $400 to Best Buy is hard to pass up. Anybody given $395 to spend at Best Buy is bound to be very, very happy and toss in a Fossil watch and a cap as icing on the cake. Plus you get to go to San Diego, that’s pretty cool.

6. Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl – $300 Vanilla Visa gift card, Chick-fil-A gift card, Apple TV, Fossil watch, football, Gift Suite? No

The Peach Bowl allows to to legitimately buy whatever you would like. The Visa gift card, a prepaid debit card, can be spent essentially anywhere on essentially anything. A nice Chick-Fil-A gift card, Apple’s new product in the TV market and a Fossil watch has to have the participants excited to leave with this haul.

5. National University Holiday Bowl – $445 Best Buy gift card and shopping trip, Fossil watch, cap, Gift Suite? No

445 DOLLARS TO BEST BUY IS INCREDIBLE. How could you ask for anything more as a kid at a football program. This is a pretty nice thing to receive for being on a football team good enough to reach a bowl game. Sign me up.

4. Russell Athletic Bowl 

3. Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl – $447 Best Buy gift card and shopping trip, watch, athletic performance shirt, Gift Suite? No

This is essentially a toss-up with the Holiday Bowl. How much is two extra bucks really going to get you at Best Buy? In this case, I’m taking the athletic performance shirt over the cap. It’s a wash either way. Great packages from all three bowls. The Citrus Bowl, being the better bowl game, gets the nod over the Russell Athletic Bowl.

2. Military Bowl – Microsoft Xbox One console, Under Armour backpack, Might Boom Ball speakers, beanie, Gift Suite? No

This was an incredibly hard haul to top and I went back and forth and back and forth, but ultimately decided to rank the Military Bowl second. An Xbox One, a backpack and speakers? That’s an absolute steal for getting to play in a bowl game and I’d be incredibly excited to be playing in this game.

1. Valero Alamo Bowl – GoPro Hero4 Silver camera and 32 GB memory card, Fossil watch, Oakley Works backpack, Schutt mini helmet, panoramic photo, Gift Suite? No

WHAT. A. HAUL. This is incredible. Playing in the Alamo Bowl gets you one of the hottest commodities out there in the GoPro Hero4. The GoPro is one of the coolest gifts anyone could possibly get and that’s not even all you get? Kansas State and UCLA are a couple of lucky teams, receiving a Fossil watch, a backpack, a mini helmet and the commemorative photo along with the GoPro! Congrats Alamo Bowl, you’re my officially unofficial champion.