It is bowl season, and that means bowl SWAG! Aside from large seven figure checks written out to each member of a conference (even Purdue gets one embiggened by TWO Big Ten BCS bowls), the teams participating in the bowl games get a bag swag for each player. The better the bowl, the better the swag.
The Big Ten has contracts with eight bowl games this year, and next year the league adds two teams and has nine contracts. Here are the official lists for all of those bowls:
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (No Big Ten team this year)
Thurs., Dec. 26, 6 p.m. (ESPN); Detroit
Timely Watch Co. watch; leather luggage set; football
Texas Bowl - (Minnesota vs. Syracuse)
Fri., Dec. 27, 6 p.m. (ESPN); Houston
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3; Fossil watch; belt buckle, T-shirt; Ogio backpack; lapel pin
Fight Hunger Bowl (Big Ten contract next year)
Fri., Dec. 27, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN); San Francisco
Soundmatters wireless portable speaker system; Fossil watch; Maxx HD Wayfarer sunglasses; messenger bag; Macy's gift card
New Era Pinstripe Bowl (Big Ten contract next year)
Sat., Dec. 28, 12 p.m. (ESPN); New York City
Variety of New Era products
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (Michgian vs. Kansas State)
Sat., Dec. 28, 10:15 p.m. (ESPN); Tempe, Ariz.
Gift suite; Fossil watch; Ogio Cube backpack
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (Big Ten contract next year)
Mon., Dec. 30, 11:45 a.m. (ESPN); Fort Worth, Texas
Gift suite, RadioShack gift card; ESPN cap; Ogio overnighter bag; Big Game football
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (Big Ten contract next year, split with ACC and Gator Bowl)
Mon., Dec. 30, 3:15 p.m. (ESPN); Nashville
Gift suite; Fossil watch
National University Holiday Bowl (Big Ten contract next year)
Mon., Dec. 30, 10:15 p.m. (ESPN); San Diego
$305 Best Buy gift card; Reactor Meltdown watch; Maui Jim sunglasses; cap
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl (Nebraska vs. Georgia)
Wed., Jan. 1, 12 p.m. (ESPN2); Jacksonville
Fossil watch; Dome hat; Mercury Luggage Seward Trunk luggage set; football, Jostens ring.
Heart of Dallas Bowl (No big Ten team this year)
Wed., Jan. 1, 12 p.m. (ESPNU); Dallas
Gift suite; Fitbit Flex watch; ESPN cap; football
Capital One Bowl (Wisconsin vs. South Carolina)
Wed., Jan. 1, 1 p.m. (ABC); Orlando
$450 Best Buy gift card and shopping trip^; Timely Watch Co. watch; Russell Athletic workout shirt
Outback Bowl (Iowa vs. LSU)
Wed., Jan. 1, 1 p.m. (ESPN); Tampa
$150 Best Buy gift card; Fossil watch; cap; Jostens ring, Outback Steakhouse gift card
Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio (Michigan State vs. Stanford)
Wed., Jan. 1, 5 p.m. (ESPN); Pasadena, Calif.
Gift suite; Fossil watch; New Era 59Fifty cap; Ogio backpack
Discover Orange Bowl (Ohio State vs. Clemson)
Fri., Jan. 3, 7:30 p.m. (Fox); Arlington, Texas
Information not available; bowl committee would not disclose
Some of these are rather vague, as the Orange Bowl did not disclose. On the ones with "gift suite" are basically a showcase showdown style of choices of gifts up to about $500 once a team gets to a bowl site. These are given away up to 125 participants per school, so the fourth string kick holder is never left out.
Of course, these are kind of boring. I say we get rid of the $500 limit and let the sky be the limit. Here are my proposed additions with some subtractions in there as well:
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl - Really, Detroit? A football? These guys can get a football by swiping one from practice. I propose a solution that also helps the crippling problem of Detroit's urban decay: abandoned real estate. You're telling me there are not 250 crumbling building in Detroit? Hell, these could even be under the $500 limit. Simply transfer the title of ownership and these young men get a leg up on a real estate career and they can develop these buildings as they see fit.
Texas Bowl - Everything is bigger in Texas, so the bowl swag should be bigger as well. That means every player needs a pickup truck, a longhorn steer, and 50 acres of beautiful west Texas ranch land.
Fight Hunger Bowl - This actually has a pretty good list of things with wireless speakers and a nice watch. Instead of the gifts, however, it is time to practice social responsibility. We're going to have 250 young men actually fight hunger by sending them to North Korea to beat up Kim Jong Un, thus actually providing food for starving people. Why? Because ‘merica.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl - Because who doesn't want to go to the South Bronx in late December to see a football game in the cold and snow, especially when it has Notre Dame this year? They get a variety of New Era products, but I propose that we just leave the Yankees' locker room unlocked and let the players raid. Whatever they find, they keep. Maybe they find some uncashed Derek Jeter paychecks. Maybe they find a stash of A-Rod's steroids. There has to be gold in there.
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl - This is a gift suite game, so lets open it up. Unlimited beer and chicken wings for all! Make sure you make it about six hours before kickoff, then send the boys out to play some football. That would be entertaining to have a bunch of drunk, stuffed football players try to play a football game.
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl - The U.S. military recent scrapped the U.S.S. Forrestal, the nation's first supercarrier, for a measly penny. People in this country just do not value military hardware, I guess. If we have some leftover planes, tanks, and ships let's really give them away. Who doesn't want to see a team's star quarterback cruising around campus in an old tank.
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl - Another gift suite game, I think every player should get a recording contract. If they're good, it is an alternative to a physically crippling NFL career. If they have no NFL career, it is a second chance as opposed to making a living with a real job.
National University Holiday Bowl - National University is a real thing? Well, at least the game is in San Diego. Therefore, your bowl gift is whatever you can grab in Tijuana and a 200 yard head start from Border Patrol officials.
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl - If we're really going to slay taxes you need a tax shelter. Not too far off the coast of Jacksonville is the Bahamas, which has hundreds of uninhabited islands dotted in the warm Atlantic. Set up your tax shelters now, boys, with your own private island!
Heart of Dallas Bowl - Remember when Mola Ram was ripping out human hearts in Temple of Doom? That is what I envision when I hear the phrase Heart of Dallas. This, of course, was Purdue's bowl game last year and it is another Gift suite game. Since it is in Dallas there need to be a scavenger hunt for the mythical heart of Dallas, whatever that may be. The winner gets a contract from Jerry Jones, because that represents the logic with which he signs Cowboys players.
Capital One Bowl - Since thousands of college students are practically indentured servants to credit card companies by the time they graduate thanks to free t-shirts in every student union across the country lets up the ante. The winning school has their entire student body's credit card debt cancelled as a bowl gift.
Outback Bowl - A Best Buy gift card and an Outback Steakhouse gift card? That's the best you can do? Those have nothing to do with Australia. If each player is not given a koala and/or a kangaroo I think they should strike by not playing until their demands are met.
Rose Bowl Game - The Grandaddy of them All needs to have the best bowl swag of any bowl. Instead, they have a vague gift suite, watch, hat, and backpack. Whoopty-do. The Rose Bowl is famous for the Rose parade, where all floats are made from organic materials. Time to genetically engineer some of those flowers to where they can be semi-sentient and do homework for the players.
Discover Orange Bowl - The Orange Bowl is in Miami and it did not say what the gift is. You know it has to be shady then. Congratulations boys! You guys are now all drug lords with a luxury sports car to cruise South Beach.