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Ranking player swag for all 40 college football bowl games

Important stuff

Animals At San Francisco Zoo Receive Edible Holiday Treats Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

We’re only days away from the 2018-19 bowl season. And while you’ll hear a lot about the pageantry of the sport, vital extra practice time for teams, travel experiences for fans, and ultimately the crowning of a new national champion, there’s one aspect of this time of year that matters above all others: BOWL SWAG.

That’s right, strip away all of the other trappings and bowl season is about one thing, players gettin’ stuff. Our friends and Sports Business Daily did the grunt work of compiling what each bowl participant will receive, and now we’ll do what all good #ContentCurators do: RANK ‘EM ARBITRARILY!

Below you’ll find the comprehensive rankings of the player gifts for all 40 college football bowl games. But before we dig in, a few notes:

  • Some bowl games - in fact some very high profile ones - do not disclose what the players receive. While these players are probably getting some awesome stuff, I’m the professor in this particular exercise and I reserve the right to fail you for not showing your work.
  • The gift suite.” This basically means there’s a room full of stuff that players can choose from, with either a limit on the number of items or on the dollar amount. Once again, not all gift suites are created equal, but a lack of specificity hurts you in the rankings and that’s not my fault.
  • These rankings are not based strictly on dollar value. While that does factor in, unique gifts (i.e., “anything but a Fossil watch” and variety can bump you up over someone who just throws you a gift card.

With that, let’s get into the rankings...

40-26: Technically things someone might want

40. College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
Clemson vs. Notre Dame

  • Would not disclose gifts
    Comments: Don’t show your work, get an F.

39. College Football Playoff National Championship Presented By AT&T

  • Would not disclose gifts
    Comments: See above, but we’ll assume the swag for the national championship is superior to that of a semifinal game.

38. Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl
Marshall vs. South Florida

  • Gift suite
    Comments: This is technically an answer, I guess.

37. New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Miami vs. Wisconsin

  • A variety of New Era products
    Comments: Enjoy a variety of being at the bottom of these rankings.

36. Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl
Fresno State vs. Arizona State

  • Gift suite; collectible Las Vegas item TBD; dad hat; beanie; fanny pack
    Comments: Finally some specifics. I mean this still sounds kinda shitty, but at least there are specifics.

35. Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl
UAB vs. Northern Illinois

  • Gift suite; drawstring backpack; beach towel; football
    Comments: Do we actually think that guys who play football at an FBS program don’t have access to a football already?

34. Servpro First Responder Bowl
Boston College vs. Boise State

  • Gift suite; RFID-blocking Ridge wallet; Big Game football
    Comments: Prevent identify theft with this wallet, because only the NCAA should be able to profit off of your name and likeness.

33. R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Middle Tennessee vs. Appalachian State

  • Gift suite; Fossil watch
    Comments: We’ve officially entered “Fossil Watch” territory.

32. Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
Purdue vs. Auburn

  • Gift suite; Fossil watch
    Comments: Realize that you, Purdue and Auburn players, are receiving the same thing as guys from Middle Tennessee and Appalachian State.

31. San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl
Northwestern vs. Utah

  • Gift suite; Fossil watch; New Era cap
    Comments: See above, but also a hat.

30. Walk-On’s Independence Bowl
Temple vs. Duke

  • Gift suite; Timely Watch Co. watch; New Era skull cap; football
    Comments: Suddenly longing for the days of getting a Fossil Watch.

29. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Western Michigan vs. BYU

  • Gift suite; Oakley backpack; hydroflask; beanie
    Comments: Gifts almost as generic as the state of Idaho.

28. Allstate Sugar Bowl
Texas vs. Georgia

  • Gift suite; Fossil watch; New Era cap; Rock ’Em socks; cufflinks
    Comments: What is, “things your aunt inexplicably gives you for Christmas?”

27. Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl
FIU vs. Toledo

  • Gift suite; Yeti rambler; string backpack; board shorts; towel; pin
    Comments: Bonus points because Bahamas Bowl merch will soon be a collector’s item.

26. DXL Frisco Bowl
San Diego State vs. Ohio

  • Gift suite; Justin cowboy hat; beanie cap; coin; pin; Big Game football
    Comments: They get a cowboy hat because they’re in Texas. Never mind that Frisco is the most generic sterile suburban hellscape you could possibly imagine.

25-19: OK some of this stuff is kinda cool

25. Jared Birmingham Bowl
Memphis vs. Wake Forest

  • Gift suite; Oakley backpack or sunglasses; cooling hoodie; football
    Comments: It could only be JAAAAREDDDDDD!

24. AutoNation Cure Bowl
Tulane vs. Louisiana

  • Holloway Force jacket; sunglasses with carry case; Energizer powerbank; duffle bag; Pebble Beach slides; dopp kit; Sportek long-sleeve contender T-shirt; cap
    Comments: Lack of a gift suite limits the upside of what is otherwise a decent haul.

23. Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual
Washington vs. Ohio State

  • Gift suite; Fossil watch; Ogio backpack; New Era 9Fifty adjustable hat
    Comments: Assuming the gift suite includes your choice of a Rolls Royce or Amazon shares.

22. Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
Georgia Southern vs. Eastern Michigan

  • Gift suite; Fossil watch; Samsonite rolling duffle bag; beanie; Big Game football
    Comments: I WAS WAY OFF!

21. Hyundai Sun Bowl
Stanford vs. Pittsburgh

  • Gift suite; Timely Watch Co. watch; Majestic fleece pullover; Ogio Excelsior backpack; Under Armour cap; coin
    Comments: I Beto this gift suite is better than expected.

20. Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl
Baylor vs. Vanderbilt

  • Gift suite; Academy Sports + Outdoors gift card; Adidas backpack; belt buckle
    Comments: Gift card from the sponsor and a belt buckle because TAYUXXEZZZZ. Nice.

19. Belk Bowl
South Carolina vs. Virginia

  • Shopping trip to Belk department store; Fossil watch
    Comments: You can get a lot of nice stuff at Belk. But no college football player gets excited about shopping at Belk.

18-8: #LowEndConsumerElectronicsSZN

18. Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
Houston vs. Army

17. SoFi Hawai’i Bowl
Louisiana Tech vs. Hawaii

  • Electronics gift suite; Oakley backpack; Oakley sunglasses; Tori Richard aloha shirt; shorts/swim trunks; performance T-shirt; beach towel
    Comments: You’re in Hawaii, just take the swim trunks and towel and you’re good.

16. New Mexico Bowl
North Texas vs. Utah State

  • Gift suite; Oakley Jupiter Squared sunglasses; Oakley 5 Speed backpack; Bluetooth speaker; water bottle; beanie; Montgomery pen; Pacific Headwear trucker’s cap
    Comments: Points awarded for going outside the box and giving players a pen. Points deducted because you’re giving players a pen.

15. Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman
Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech

  • Dell Mobile Projector M318WL; $100 Amex Gift Card; ISlides
    Comments: All of the other bowl games that actually matter are gonna look sweet on this Dell projector.

14. Redbox Bowl
Michigan State vs. Oregon

  • Fossil watch; Timbuktu backpack; Roku; headphones; Redbox Bowl merchandise
    Comments: This swag scores high on the “know your audience” category

13. Outback Bowl
Mississippi State vs. Iowa

  • Fossil watch; Jostens ring; $125 Best Buy gift card; Outback Steakhouse Gift card; hat

Comments: I swear to God, if that Jostens ring doesn’t have a Bloomin’ Onion on it...

12. TaxSlayer Gator Bowl
NC State vs. Texas A&M

  • Fossil watch; Maui Jim sunglasses; Amazon Echo; ISlides; SIC tumbler; dopp kit
    Comments: #branding

11. Dollar General Bowl
Buffalo vs. Troy

  • Yamaha sound bar with built-in subwoofer; Timely Watch Co. watch; Maui Jim sunglasses; Wilson game ball
    Comments: Despite a lack of a gift suite, these is a package that surpasses expectations for a bowl named after Dollar General.

10. Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl
Arkansas State vs. Nevada

  • Ghostek backpack with a power bank and external USB port; Beats Budst; Fire Kindle with built-in Alexa; hydroflask; cooling towel; Frito Lay products in each bag
    Comments: Frito Lay products entices me more than it should

9. Cheez-It Bowl
California vs. TCU

  • Fossil watch with engraved caseback; JBL Charge 3 Bluetooth speaker; Baggo bag toss tailgate cornhole set; Yeti Roadie 20 cooler; Yeti rambler; dry duffel bag; RuMe reveal quart bag; Branded Bills cap; Dollar Shave Club starter set
    Comments: The engraved caseback on the watch scores them some points. They also score high on sheer volume of items.

8. AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Missouri vs. Oklahoma State

  • Shopping trip to Memphis’ Bass Pro Shops; Bose SoundLink micro Bluetooth speaker; Bulova watch; Nike athletic shoes; sport sandals; backpack and sunglasses; football
    Comments: Stepping up the watch game a bit is a nice perk, plus who doesn’t love free shoes?

7-4: Oh damn, that’s nice.

7. Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
Florida vs. Michigan

  • $300 Fancard gift card; Fossil watch; Mophie Powerstation XL; Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker (3rd generation); football
    Comments: They essentially just gave you $300 cash plus a few other cool items.

6. VRBO Citrus Bowl
Kentucky vs. Penn State

  • $400 Best Buy gift card; Ogio backpack with luggage tag; Fossil watch
    Comments: Can’t complain about a $400 Best Buy gift card. Though giving identical packages for the Citrus Bowl and the Camping World Bowl (played at the same stadium) is a bit lazy.

5. Camping World Bowl
West Virginia vs. Syracuse

  • $400 Best Buy gift card; Ogio backpack with luggage tag; Fossil watch
    Comments: Nobody here is complaining about getting the same swag as those in the Citrus Bowl.

4. Valero Alamo Bowl
Iowa State vs. Washington State

  • $425 Amazon gift card; Fossil watch; mini helmet; team panoramic photo
    Comments: The closest you can come to just giving players straight cash.

3-1: Who do I have to murder bribe to get this?

3. PlayStation Fiesta Bowl

  • PS4 gift package; Fossil watch with engraved caseback; Ogio X-Fit backpack
    Comments: Any time your gift package involves a PlayStation 4, that’s gonna land you near the top.

2. Quick Lane Bowl
Minnesota vs. Georgia Tech

  • $175 Best Buy gift card; JBL E55BT over-ear wireless headphones; life-sized Fathead decal for each participant of his likeness; backpack; shirts; mini helmet; football
    Comments: You’re probably surprised to see the Quick Lane Bowl this high, but hear me out. Best Buy gift card, plus wireless headphones, football, mini helmet, backpack shirts? All cool stuff. But the pièce de résistance is the personalized Fathead. “But Robert,” you say, “who would want a Fathead of themselves?” Me. That’s who.

1. College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl
Alabama vs. Oklahoma

  • Gift suite; Tourneau watch; personalized bobblehead of each student-athlete; sling bag
    Comments: It would take a miracle for something to surpass the greatness of a personalized Fathead. That miracle is a personalized bobblehead. Kyler Murray’s may even be close to life-sized.