2018-19 Bowl Season Gift Guide: Grading the Swag from Every Game

It’s time to see what swag each team got in their bowl game stockings!

In college football, the NCAA prohibits players from accepting money or gifts for 11 months out of the year. However, when bowl season starts, the collegiate governing body relaxes the rules a bit and allows players to receive gifts from bowl sponsors as a reward for their participation.

There are some limits in place to prevent extravagant gifts from being given and to ensure each player is treated fairly, but it essentially boils down to this: As many as 125 players per team can each receive up to a maximum value of $550 in gifts from a bowl committee.

Bowl presents in the past include all types of goodies: From custom belt buckles, to top electronics, and even gift suites, which off players to pick from a vast array of items.

Based on these qualifications for gift giving, we decided to make a list, check it twice, and grade all the gifts from every bowl  NAUGHTY or NICE) to see which gifts from the committees are naughty or nice.

So, grab the eggnog and dust off the sled because it’s time to see what each bowl team will be gifted on gameday after they crawl out of bed!

Bowl Game Gift Ratings

NICE!!! Totally unique and a gift that shows you care.
Pretty Nice! A gift that’s got some cool stuff and maybe a couple boring items too.
Somewhere In-Between? Some good and some bad items. It’s most likely just boring.
Kind of Naughty! May have a couple redeeming items but the rest is a disappointment.
NAUGHTY!!! The worst of the worst. No thought put into them and just plain lazy.

Note: We aren’t putting too much stock with the “gift suite” in our ratings since that’s completely random and takes about as much thought as a gift card anyways. The exception being the New Year’s Six, CFP, and National Championship.

AutoNation Cure Bowl

Tulane vs. Louisiana
Dec. 15, 1:30 p.m. ET on CBSSN
Gift: Holloway Force jacket; sunglasses with carry case; Energizer powerbank; duffle bag; Pebble Beach slides; dopp kit; Sportek long-sleeve contender T-shirt; cap

Somewhere In-Between? These gifts resemble something your aunt or uncle would get you after a single trip to the mall.

New Mexico Bowl

North Texas vs. Utah State
Dec. 15, 2 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: Gift suite; Oakley Jupiter Squared sunglasses; Oakley 5 Speed backpack; Bluetooth speaker; water bottle; beanie; Montgomery pen; Pacific Headwear trucker’s cap

Pretty Nice! Overall a nice variety of goodies, and I’m curious to see the trucker’s cap.

Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl

Fresno State vs. Arizona State
Dec. 15, 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
Gift: Gift suite; collectible Las Vegas item TBD; dad hat; beanie; fanny pack

NAUGHTY!!! Anyone who gifts a fanny pack is 100% evil.

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl

Georgia Southern vs. Eastern Michigan
Dec. 15, 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: Gift suite; Fossil watch; Samsonite rolling duffle bag; beanie; Big Game football

Somewhere In-Between? Do people still wear watches in 2018?

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Middle Tennessee vs. Appalachian State
Dec. 15, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: Gift suite; Fossil watch

 Somewhere In-Between? Yawn…

Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl

UAB vs. Northern Illinois
Dec. 18, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: Gift suite; drawstring backpack; beach towel; football

NAUGHTY!!!  Gifting a backpack, a towel, and a football to football players is just cruel.

DXL Frisco Bowl

San Diego State vs. Ohio
Dec. 19, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: Gift suite; Justin cowboy hat; beanie cap; coin; pin; Big Game football

Pretty Nice! Needs more of the good and less of the boring, but I can always appreciate getting a cowboy hat from Texas.

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl

Marshall vs. South Florida
Dec. 20, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: Gift suite

NAUGHTY!!! Mainly because they are called “Bay Boy” Mowers. But since it’s only a gift suite, this rating could change if players are offered some awesome products.

Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl

FIU vs. Toledo
Dec. 21, 12:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: Gift suite; Yeti rambler; string backpack; board shorts; towel; pin

Kind of Naughty! The only redeeming quality about this gift is that the game is in the Bahamas.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Western Michigan vs. BYU
Dec. 21, 4 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: Gift suite; Oakley backpack; hydroflask; beanie

NAUGHTY!!! Simply for trying to convince people a “hydroflask” is something fancy when it’s just a water bottle!

Jared Birmingham Bowl

Memphis vs. Wake Forest
Dec. 22, noon ET on ESPN
Gift: Gift suite; Oakley backpack or sunglasses; cooling hoodie; football

Somewhere In-Between? Not necessarily bad, but they could have went to Jared!

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Houston vs. Army
Dec. 22, 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: Gift suite; Bluetooth speaker helmet; football

Pretty Nice! I’m intrigued by the helmet, but whether it’ll be useful is highly subjective.

Dollar General Bowl

Buffalo vs. Troy
Dec. 22, 7 p.m. on ESPN
Gift: Yamaha soundbar with built-in subwoofer; Timely Watch Co. watch; Maui Jim sunglasses; Wilson game ball

NICE!!! A nice array of goodies with a high-quality soundbar was a great choice!

SoFi Hawai’i Bowl

Louisiana Tech vs. Hawaii
Dec. 22, 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: Electronics gift suite; Oakley backpack; Oakley sunglasses; Tori Richard aloha shirt; shorts/swim trunks; performance T-shirt; beach towel

Pretty Nice! It would be “NICE!!!” if we could see the electronic gift suite but a great all-around package for a trip to Hawaii and everyday stuff for the Hawaii team.

Servpro First Responder Bowl

Boston College vs. Boise State
Dec. 26, 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: Gift suite; RFID-blocking Ridge wallet; Big Game football

NAUGHTY!!! A wallet? Seriously? Give them something that goes IN wallets instead!

Quick Lane Bowl

Minnesota vs. Georgia Tech
Dec. 26, 5:15 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: $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

NICE!!! Not the biggest fan of gift cards but $175 is nothing to scoff at, and I must see the Fathead because there’s a lot of potential with that.

Cheez-It Bowl

California vs. TCU
Dec. 26, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: 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

NICE!!! I’m a tiny bit disappointed there are no Cheez-Its but with this much cool stuff, it’s easy to forgive.

Walk-On’s Independence Bowl

Temple vs. Duke
Dec. 27, 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: Gift suite; Timely Watch Co. watch; New Era skull cap; football

Something In-Between? The watch saves it, but otherwise, it’s totally boring.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Miami vs. Wisconsin
Dec. 27, 5:15 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: A variety of New Era products

NAUGHTY!!! Great if you like New Era apparel but it pretty terrible if you don’t. This is why you get players a variety of things. Plus, the blatant self-promotion is a bit much.

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl

Baylor vs. Vanderbilt
Dec. 27, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: Gift suite; Academy Sports + Outdoors gift card; Adidas backpack; belt buckle

Pretty Nice! A custom belt buckle from Texas? Time to saddle up!

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl

Purdue vs. Auburn
Dec. 28, 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: Gift suite; Fossil watch

Kind of Naughty! They had just barely enough time to care.

Camping World Bowl

West Virginia vs. Syracuse
Dec. 28, 5:15 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: $400 Best Buy gift card; Ogio backpack with luggage tag; Fossil watch

NICE!!! You can get some sweet electronics with a $400 Best Buy gift card. Plus, a watch and some luggage? This is how you gift a present.

Valero Alamo Bowl

Iowa State vs. Washington State
Dec. 28, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: $425 Amazon gift card; Fossil watch; mini helmet; team panoramic photo

NICE!!! Easily one of the best gifts out of all the bowls and using some of the $425 gift card on a Prime Membership means it’s the gift that can keep on giving.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

Florida vs. Michigan
Dec. 29, noon ET on ESPN
Gift: $300 Vanilla Visa gift card; Fossil watch; Mophie Powerstation XL; Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker (3rd generation); football

NICE!!! “Alexa, is this a great gift or what?” “It is because I’m in it.”-Alexa, probably.

Belk Bowl

South Carolina vs. Virginia
Dec. 29, noon ET on ABC
Gift: Shopping trip to Belk department store; Fossil watch

Somewhere In-Between? Sort of depends on the shopping limit. But if they max out the $550 (minus the watch), then this could be Pretty Nice!

Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl

Arkansas State vs. Nevada
Dec. 29, 1:15 p.m. ET on CBSSN
Gift: 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

NICE!!! Awesome electronics plus Fritos make this an amazing gift.

College Football Playoff Semifinal

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic

Clemson vs. Notre Dame
Dec. 29, 4 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: Would not disclose gifts

NICE!!! They’ve said it’s going to be a big surprise and didn’t want to spoil it. We approve of surprises, and hopefully, they don’t disappoint!

College Football Playoff Semifinal

Capital One Orange Bowl

Alabama vs. Oklahoma
Dec. 29, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: Gift suite; Tourneau watch; personalized bobblehead of each student-athlete; sling bag

NICE!!! The personalized custom bobblehead alone makes this one of the coolest gifts ever, and we’re sure a playoff game will have a top-tier gift suite.

Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman

Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech
Dec. 31, noon ET on ESPN
Gift: Dell Mobile Projector M318WL; $100 Amex Gift Card; ISlides

NICE!!! A high-quality projector for movies, gaming, and presentations makes this gift top tier.

Hyundai Sun Bowl

Stanford vs. Pittsburgh
Dec. 31, 2 p.m. ET on CBS
Gift: Gift suite; Timely Watch Co. watch; Majestic fleece pullover; Ogio Excelsior backpack; Under Armour cap; coin

Kind of Naughty! Unless that’s a solid gold coin, then this gift is extremely dull, to say the least.

Redbox Bowl

Michigan State vs. Oregon
Dec. 31, 3 p.m. ET on Fox
Gift: Fossil watch; Timbuktu backpack; Roku; headphones; Redbox Bowl merchandise

Pretty Nice! But holding off on the best grade, since we don’t know what the “merchandise” includes.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl

Missouri vs. Oklahoma State
Dec. 31, 3:45 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: Shopping trip to Memphis’ Bass Pro Shops; Bose SoundLink micro Bluetooth speaker; Bulova watch; Nike athletic shoes; sport sandals; backpack and sunglasses; football

NICE!!! Tons of goodies and a shopping trip through a Bass Pro Shop? Reel ‘em in, boys!

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl

Northwestern vs. Utah
Dec. 31, 7 p.m. ET on FS1
Gift: Gift suite; Fossil watch; New Era cap

Kind of Naughty! A watch, a cap, and a mystery? You can do better, SDCCU!

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl

NC State vs. Texas A&M
Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
Gift: Fossil watch; Maui Jim sunglasses; Amazon Echo; ISlides; SIC tumbler; dopp kit

Pretty Nice! A nice array of items with the Amazon Echo making this gift a pretty nice one.

Outback Bowl

Mississippi State vs. Iowa
Jan. 1, noon ET on ESPN2
Gift: Fossil watch; Jostens ring; $125 Best Buy gift card; Outback Steakhouse Gift card; hat

Pretty Nice! I’m not sure how I feel about the ring, but the two gift cards are quite welcome.

VRBO Citrus Bowl

Kentucky vs. Penn State
Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET on ABC
Gift: $400 Best Buy gift card; Fossil watch; Ogio backpack with luggage tag

NICE!!! A huge chunk of change to spend at Best Buy puts this up there with the best gifts.

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl

LSU vs. UCF
Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: PS4 gift package; Fossil watch with engraved caseback; Ogio X-Fit backpack

NICE!!! One of the top 5 gifts on the list, maybe even the best one if it comes with God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2, Spider-man, or any other awesome games this year.

Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual

Washington vs. Ohio State
Jan. 1, 5 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: Gift suite; Fossil watch; Ogio backpack; New Era 9Fifty adjustable hat

Somewhere In-Between? Only because we can’t imagine the Rose Bowl having bad gifts, but if the gift suite isn’t up to par, then the “grand-daddy of them all” belongs near the bottom.

Allstate Sugar Bowl

Texas vs. Georgia
Jan. 1, 8:45 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: Gift suite; Fossil watch; New Era cap; Rock ’Em socks; cufflinks

Kind of Naughty! Socks are a terrible gift. Just do underwear next year. The only reason this isn’t naughty is that the gift suite likely has some amazing items.

College Football Playoff National Championship

TBD vs. TBD
Jan. 7, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN
Gift: Would not disclose gifts

NICE!!! We’ll just have to wait and see, but we’ll give the national championship the benefit of doubt.

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