Bowl season is wonderful. Some complain about there being too many games and most of them being meaningless, but they offer 41 more chances to watch college football, so please stop complaining.
Also, many times bowl games offer up a nice trip for the players to end their year -- especially for those that land in a destination bowl like the Bahamas or Hawaii. So, no, the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl is not super meaningful in the grand scheme of things, but you better believe those kids are excited for a December trip to the Bahamas.
Along with the possibility of playing in a cool place, the players are allowed to take home gifts from their bowl experience. That can be a big perk for the players, but not all bowl gift packages are created equal. Sports Business Daily released its annual look at the gifts players will receive for each bowl game, which you can see in its entirety here, but we're ranking the five best and five worst bowl game gift packages of the 41 bowl games.
The five best
5. Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl: $305 Best Buy shopping trip; Timely Watch Co. watch; EA Sports video game; ISlide sandals; $25 Buffalo Wild Wings gift card
The gift suite is usually pretty crucial to being a good bowl gift package. That's where the players get to go pick their gifts from a pre-selected list of items that can total up to $525. Without that, you need an awful lot of great stuff to make up for it. The Citrus Bowl does that with a Best Buy shopping trip and video game of the player's choice.
4. PlayStation Fiesta Bowl: Gift suite or PS4 game and accessory bundle; Ogio Throttle backpack; Fossil watch; football
I'm putting the Fiesta Bowl here because I'm assuming the gift suite offers a PS4 if the other option is a game/accessory bundle.
3. Valero Alamo Bowl: Apple Watch Nike+; $110 Best Buy gift card; myCharge HubPlus portable charger; team panoramic photo; mini-helmet
The Apple Watch Nike+ retails for $399 and tacking on the Best Buy gift card is pretty sweet. That's the best single item gift out there that's not from a gift suite, so shoutout to the Alamo Bowl.
2. Orange Bowl: Gift suite; Tourneau watch; Schutt mini-helmet
A gift suite plus the best watch gift given away by any of the bowls. The Orange Bowl isn't where Michigan or Florida State hoped to be after starting the year with playoff aspirations, but this is a pretty great consolation prize.
1. Peach Bowl: $300 Vanilla Visa gift card by InComm; JBL Bluetooth speaker; Fossil watch; football
The Peach Bowl gives players a $300 Visa gift card, which is like gold for a college student. The JBL Bluetooth speaker is pretty sweet, too, but when I was in college, I would much prefer a $300 Visa card to any shopping spree or store gift card.
The five worst
5. Dollar General Bowl: Leather duffel bag; Pure Boom wireless headphones; Wilson souvenir game ball; RTIC SoftPak 40 cooler; Timely Watch Co. watch
The leather duffel bag is at least functional and headphones are always welcome, but this is a pretty mediocre bag. It's not bad, but no gift suite and no top of the line electronics makes this one a bit less desirable.
4. TaxSlayer Bowl: Fossil watch; carry-on bag; Under Armour sunglasses; football; bobblehead with player's face, name and uniform number
This is among the weirder ones. Having a personalized bobblehead would be pretty cool, but the watch/bag/sunglasses combo is pretty much standard for a gift suite package so to have that without the suite isn't great.
3. Cure Bowl: Sports watch; warmup jacket and pants; portable charger; Dri-Fit long-sleeve shirt; backpack
I love a good warmup jacket/pant combo and a Dri-Fit shirt. I do. This is all very functional, but not very fun.
2. Miami Beach Bowl: Under Armour backpack, hat and sunglasses; ISlide sandals; portable power bank; beach paddle-ball set; football
No one is going to be upset with what they get from the Miami Beach Bowl because they get to spend some time in Miami, but this -- like the Cure Bowl package -- is a fairly functional, but not an especially fun gift set. Then there's a beach paddle-ball set, which I can't imagine will get much use from the Tulsa and Central Michigan folks.
1. Pinstripe Bowl: A variety of New Era products
OK, so this one's pretty vague. Is it just a bunch of hats? Maybe a backpack? I like hats fine, but not enough to make them being the centerpiece of a gift package super enticing.