Shortly after the bowl games are announced each year, we learn what the gift packages are for each game. They vary each year depending on what's popular, for example, we used to see iPads and TV's given out in years past. This year, there weren't many outlandish gift packages, but there were a lot of interesting ones (view them all here). So I saved you the trouble of going through the list yourselves, and picked out the best, worst, funniest, most-fitting, and most mysterious bowl game gift packages of the 2015 season. Let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree with my choices.
Best Gift- Quick Lane Bowl
Teams: Central Michigan vs. Minnesota
Gift: JBL headphones; custom-made, life-sized decal for each player, with his likeness; hoodies; winter hat, baseball cap; Ogio backpack; vintage football; $200 Best Buy gift card
This was close, but I'm going to give it to the Quick Lane Bowl, which makes up for the fact that it forces two teams to play in Detroit in late December by giving out a pretty sweet gift package. Upon researching, JBL headphones look like a solid pair of headphones, which is a good start. The custom-made, life-sized decal is the big prize here, in my opinion. That's an awesome idea, I would love that if I was one of these players. The kicker is the $200 Best Buy card, which will be the second-largest gift card given out this year.
The decal is what puts the Quick Lane Bowl over the top, though. Anyone can give out an iPad (although no one did) or a watch, but a custom-made decal is pretty unique.
Military Bowl (Pitt vs. Navy): XBox One (with Kinect), Under Armour Duffel Bag
A brand new XBox One with Kinect runs at around $400, which is pretty significant. Cool gift for these guys, and if they already have one, a very easy thing to sell on eBay, especially around the holidays.
Valero Alamo Bowl (TCU vs. Oregon): Beats wireless headphones, Fossil watch, $125 Best Buy gift card, team panoramic photo, commemorative mini-helmet
If not for the custom-made decal, this would have been my favorite gift package. The Beats wireless headphones are the kicker here.
Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl (Florida State vs. Houston): $300 Visa gift card, Fossil watch, Bluetooth speaker, commemorative football, $10 Chick-Fil-A gift card
This was under heavy consideration for the best gift package until I saw that as a reward for being in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, the players only get $10 gift cards. That's weak. These Northwestern players probably got more than $10 worth of Chick-Fil-A after beating Notre Dame last year, and that was just in the regular season.
Worst Gift- Foster Farms Bowl
Teams: Nebraska vs. UCLA
Gift: Gift suite; Fossil watch
Nothing against Fossil watches, although I've never owned one so I guess I can't really say if I have anything against them or not, but this gift package sucks. Nothing says, "Congratulations on making it to a bowl game!" like a watch and unidentified gifts in California.
But don't worry, Nebraska and UCLA, there are plenty of bowls who are giving out prizes nearly as bad as yours.
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (Louisiana Tech vs. Arkansas State): Gift suite, Fossil watch
The same exact package as the Foster Farms Bowl, but this bowl is in New Orleans, so it's infinitely better.
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (Louisville vs. Texas A&M): Gift suite, Fossil watch
Same story, different town. Give me Nashville over Santa Clara any day of the week.
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (Boise State vs. Northern Illinois): Gift suite, Fossil watch, cap
First of all, are we serious with that name? My God. Also, cap.
National University Holiday Bowl (Wisconsin vs. USC): Gift suite, Fossil watch, cap
TaxSlayer Bowl (Penn State vs. Georgia): Panasonic gift suite, Fossil watch
I must say, I am incredibly interested to know what the difference is between a normal gift suite, and a Panasonic gift suite. Does Penn State ONLY get Panasonic stuff?
Gift Most Suited to the Bowl's Participants- Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl
Teams: Nevada vs. Colorado State
Gift: Custom-made cowboy boots
According to this CNN article from 2013, 1/3 of the best places to be a cowboy are located in Colorado. I don't know much about Nevada aside from the fact that it's the home of Las Vegas and its capital is Carson City (test me on my state capitals any day), but I get the feeling that it wouldn't be terribly surprising to see a cowboy there. Even if I'm way off base with that, I think we can agree that there's enough cowboy in Colorado State to make up for it.
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl (Utah vs. BYU): Gift suite, Oakley backpack, trucker mesh shapback cap, beanie
I can't imagine that there are many people who go to school in Utah who have never been hiking/backpacking/whatever, so a nice Oakley backpack sounds perfect. Then, it might be just because I feel like Tyler Wilson probably wears one off the field all the time, but trucker mesh snapbacks seem like a good fit for Utah, just like beanies seem like a good fit for BYU. This is very scientific work I'm doing.
Funniest Gift- AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl
Teams: LSU vs. Texas Tech
Gift: Gift suite, belt buckle, duffel bag, alpaca throw, selfie stick
There are multiple reasons I chose this as the funniest gift package. The belt buckle jumps out right away, because that's the most Texas thing ever. I enjoyed the fact that in a system that takes the time to put a brand name on every single inch of these games, that the "duffel bag" was simply a duffel bag, and not an "Under Armour duffel bag", or an "Adidas duffel bag". The real pièce de résistance is the selfie stick. Not because selfie sticks on their own are funny (they're more sad, than funny), but because imagining Les Miles using a selfie stick makes me laugh. Maybe he'll take a group shot with LSU's Board of Supervisors after the game.
AutoNation Cure Bowl presented by Florida Hospital (San Jose State vs. Georgia State): Nike pullover, flexfit flat bill cap, watch, Tervis tumbler, commemorative metal ticket, chill towel, keychain
It's just, like, a really chill towel, man.
Most Mysterious Gift- Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
Teams: Alabama vs. Michigan State
Gift: "Would not disclose"
Of course the bowl game that involves two of the most close-to-the-chest coaches in the country would be the one where we don't know the gift package. Let's wildly speculate on what the gift package could include.
-A sweater that shrinks after the first wash
-Signed photo of Cotton McKnight, from Dodgeball
-A signed photo of Cotton Fitzsimmons
-A replica of Eli Whitney's cotton gin
-A half-and-half Michigan State and Alabama jersey with "Saban" on the back
-A cot with some tin laying inside
-A Fossil watch
National Championship Game: Iconic gift
We don't know what it is, we just know that it's some iconic.
Belk Bowl (NC State vs. Mississippi State): Shopping trip to Belk department store, Fossil watch
Since there's no price listed, I'm curious how this works. I imagine each player walking down the isles with a store employee, and they have to ask the employee every time if they can get something, like a child with their parent in a store.
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Were there any other gift packages that caught your attention? Tell us about them in the comments, below.