The Best (and Worst) of the Bowl Game Swag

SportsBusiness Journal has released its annual grid detailing the free stuff players will receive at bowl games. Reading this thing every year has become a way to take the pulse of gadgets and gear.

The first thing that jumped out at me was the lack of video game systems. Not one bowl game is tossing Nintendo Wiis at anyone, which work well within the price confines of the other gifts. (I'm guessing players at the Capital One Bowl will have a chance to buy systems with their $420 limit at a Best Buy party. Ditto for bowl games with a Sony gift suite, where you'd figure PlayStation 3s would be available.)

There's a lot of love for the various HD camcorders out there (Flip and RCA lead the way in this department.) LCD TVs of the 19-inch variety make a few appearances and the old standby of iPods and docks are still making the rounds.

I'm still sort of stunned that any bowl game gives away rings. If you won a national championship, sure, maybe that's an occasion for a ring. But the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl? That needs a ring? The only other bowl game giving away a ring, according to SBJ, is the Outback Bowl.

I haven't bought a backpack since my senior year of high school, but does Ogio just absolutely run that world now? 13 of the bowls in this list are giving away Ogio bags. Oakley also has a heavy presence with four bowl games (in terms of backpacks). Oakley makes its mark with sunglasses in five games.

A few more highlights from the swag:

Item They'll Give Up In One Year: Flo TV. Yes, the idea of live TV on the go is great. The Poinsettia Bowl is giving away Flo TV with 1 year of service. That's great, but after one year, you'll be asked to pay $14.99 per month. How many college kids are going to absorb that kind of luxury on a monthly basis. That, my friends, is a case of beer.

Oddball Item: Commemorative Richard Petty Driving Experience Photo. The Meineke Car Bowl will, I assume, be taking all the players to the Richard Petty Driving Experience. If they aren't, giving them just a photo would seem kind of strange. Also, I wonder how coaches feel about their players whipping around on the track before the game?

Best In Show: This is a tough one to pick, but I'm going with the Sugar Bowl. The gift suite includes Sony, Apple, Trek, Garmin and Weber. You get a watch and a New Era fitted, plus a laptop pack. Then icing on this one is a Lane recliner. That's some excellent and varied swag.

At least they didn't give away ... Any E-Readers. (OK, they might have 'em in the Sony suite.) But still, let's not kid ourselves like the football players would rather have an E-Reader over an iPod or some new Beats by Dre headphones.

(Photo via SBJ last season.)

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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