It's fine to give college football players extra benefits...
...as long as the monetary value is less than $550.00 and you are part of a bowl committee.
Part of the fun for the players during their time at a bowl game is receiving gifts ranging from shirts and backpacks to gaming consoles, TVs and gift cards.
You will notice as you peruse this list of swag being handed out that watches are a favorite.
Also, you will notice that "gift suite" appears on a pretty regular basis.
For those of you, like myself, who were wondering what that is, I have an explanation.
It's a suite filled with gifts from the sponsor, and players get to choose what they want to take with them up to the monetary limit.
Now you know.
Thanks to SportsBusiness Daily for the swag info.
Temple vs. Wyoming
Swag: Gift suite, Oakley Eyepatch 2, Oakley beanie, New Era cap, Oakley Flak Pack 3.0, pen with box, Christmas ornament
In one of the more, shall we say, eccentric gifts, the New Mexico Bowl decided to include a "pen with box" among their gifts.
Now Bernard Pierce will have a writing utensil to sign that NFL contract when the time comes.
Ohio vs. Utah State
Swag: Gift suite, North End winter coat, Kombi gloves, Nike beanie, Ogio Fugitive backpack, Big Game souvenir football
Given that the Potato Bowl is being played in Boise, where the average temperature hovers in the 30s in December, these are particularly apropos.
San Diego State vs. ULL
Swag: Samsung Galaxy tablet
OK, so it's not an iPad, but this is the only bowl game that provides any sort of tablet.
That's a pretty solid piece of technology to earn for finishing the season 8-4.
Hopefully the Aztecs and the Ragin' Cajuns give us some entertainment to enjoy on our won screens...
Marshall vs. FIU
Swag: Sony PlayStation 3, Oakley Eyepatch 2, Oakley backpack duffel, mini-helmet
These guys may be the big winners here.
Marshall finished 6-6, barely sneaking in, yet the Herd get rewarded with PS3s all around.
Perhaps FIU's T.Y. Hilton can play as himself and return a few kicks to the house on his new console.
TCU vs. La. Tech
Swag: Best Buy gift card*, Tourneau watch, hooded sweatshirt, FlexFit cap
*To be used on team's official visit to store or forfeited.
So, TCU, rather than a second consecutive BCS game, gets to take on La. Tech.
On top of that, both the horned Frogs and the Bulldogs must use their Best Buy gift cards on the team's official visit to the store or forfeit said cards.
Tourneau makes some pretty good watches, and caps and hoodies are always good, but that gift card thing is a little silly.
Arizona State vs. Boise State
Swag: Gift suite, cap
That's right, the ever-present "Gift Suite."
Let's clear this up right away.
A "Gift Suite" is a selection of items in a room, usually from the bowl sponsor, from which the players get to make a selection of items worth up to the $550.00 limit the NCAA has placed on such gifts.
It's not a bad gift at all, but really, Kellen Moore and the Broncos deserve a little better than the miserable Sen Devils.
Southern Miss vs. Nevada
Swag: Oakley sunglasses, Aloha shirt, Pro Athletics custom beach shorts, Oakley T-shirt, performance wear, cap or visor, backpack, beach towels, bowl calendar, playing cards
Notice they may not have both a cap and a visor, but must choose one or the other.
With this loadout, these guys are ready to hit the beach.
UNC vs. Missouri
Swag: Gift suite, Timely Watch Co. watch, New Era cap, commemorative football
What is with the watches?
I know guys still wear them at times, but I guarantee you the majority of the players getting watches won't even use them.
That's what iPods and cell phones are for.
Western Michigan vs. Purdue
Swag: Timely Watch Co. watch, leather duffel bag, commemorative football
Purdue is in trouble.
Alex Carder and Jordan White are legit, and will cause the Boilermakers all kinds of trouble in frigid Detroit.
Of course, the losers will always have that commemorative duffel bag.
Louisville vs. N.C. State
Swag: Estimated $400 shopping trip to Belk’s flagship store in Charlotte, Fossil watch
The shopping trip is nice—who couldn't use $400 worth of ties?
But again with the watches.
Toledo vs. Air Force
Swag: Amazon Kindle Fire, Apple iPod nano, Deuce watch, LunaTik wristband (to hold iPod), beanie, Nike backpack
This is the one I would go for.
Once again, the watches are a little outdated, but the Fire, nano and wristband all have a plethora of uses.
By the way, the players to watch in this one are Tim Jefferson, Air Force quarterback, and Toledo's explosive Eric Page.
Cal vs. Texas
Swag: Best Buy gift card, Tourneau watch, hooded sweatshirt, FlexFit cap.
Hopefully Mack Brown and the 'Horns don't find a way to stink up Best Buy the way they did football venues across the country.
They are going to have a tough time containing Keenan Allen once they do get on the field.
Florida State vs. Notre Dame
Swag: $420 shopping trip to a local Best Buy, Timely Watch Co. watch
This package of swag could be mildly underrated, if one does not look closely.
But on further review, though the game is between two of 2011's most overrated squads, a $420 gift card to Best Buy can buy a pretty nice television and almost all 10 seasons of Friends on Blu-ray.
Washington vs. Baylor
Swag: $400 Best Buy gift card, Fossil watch, Schutt mini-helmet, panoramic team photo.
Robert Griffin III may have won the Heisman, but he can't be disappointed in this haul either.
Per the usual, he will have a watch to sit in the closet, and that gift card is nice.
Perhaps some video of his Heisman campaign could be watched on a new TV.
BYU vs. Tulsa
Swag: Sony gift suite, Timely Watch Co. watch, camo knit beanie, Ogio backpack, Big Game souvenir football
Are we sensing a theme here?
Apparently college football players don't have any way to tell time unless their team plays in a bowl game.
I wonder what Sony will have available in that gift suite.
Rutgers vs. Iowa State
Swag: It's a secret...
No seriously, the bowl committee does not release what it is giving the players until it actually gives it.
That said, I think a watch is a safe bet.
Mississippi State vs. Wake Forest
Swag: Gift suite, Reactor watch
Forget the gifts—let's talk about this game for a minute.
It might not appear interesting on the surface.
However, Mississippi State has a ton of playmakers on offense to challenge a pretty stout Wake defense.
Should be a good one.
Iowa vs. Oklahoma
Swag: Gift suite, Fossil watch, cap, Ogio Convoy backpack
Just the usual for the Insight bowl: watch, gift suite and backpack.
As for the game, if I had to pick one that might be a blowout, it would absolutely be this one.
Iowa might be a tad overmatched if the Sooners show up focused.
Northwestern vs. Texas A&M
Swag: Toshiba 32-inch flat-screen television, Fossil watch, belt buckle, T-shirt, backpack
That's right—it pays to be mediocre.
As if a television and the all-important watch aren't enough, the Wildcats and Aggies walk away from this one with a belt buckle.
Yep, the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas (like that's not overly long) gets the award for uniqueness due to those buckles.
Georgia Tech vs. Utah
Swag: Gift suite, Timely Watch Co. watch, Majestic Pro-Base fleece pullover, VP Sports cap, Ogio Politan backpack, Helen of Troy hair dryer, souvenir coin
I'm sorry, what?
A hair dryer?
Are these people serious?
Cincinnati vs. Vanderbilt
Swag: Best Buy gift card, Fossil watch, Nike training shoes, Nike sport sandals, Nike sunglasses, Nike Air Jordan backpack, commemorative game ball
Phil Knight's fingerprints are all over this one.
Apparently he took time out of paying for Oregon's ridiculous uniforms to supply plenty of his company's products for the Liberty Bowl.
Illinois vs. UCLA
Swag: Soundmatters Personal Audiophile loudspeaker, Fossil watch, cap, Timbuk2 custom messenger bag
Forget the swag—I'd like to talk about a new name for this bowl.
How about "The Mediocre Programs That Can't Win Anything Bowl"?
Hey, it nearly inspires the same amount of sympathy as its current moniker.
Auburn vs. Virginia
Swag: $250 Best Buy gift card, Fossil watch, Russell Athletic ski cap, Russell Athletic travel bag, $15 Chick-fil-A gift card, commemorative football
In a ranking of these gifts, this one would be at least top-10 by virtue of the Chick-fil-A card.
Other than that, the swag seems pretty standard.
Penn State vs. Houston
Swag: Gift suite, Timely Watch Co. watch
Yep, Case Keenum and Houston fall from a BCS berth all the way to the TicketCity Bowl with one loss.
The joys of playing in C-USA.
If the Cougars thought USM had a tough defense, wait until they get a load of the Nittany Lions.
Michigan State vs. Georgia
Swag: $150 Best Buy gift card, Fossil watch, Jostens ring, cap, $25 Outback Steakhouse gift certificate
Not sure what the thinking is here.
$150.00 at Best Buy will buy about half of a TV or game console.
At least the players will be able to pay for half of a meal at Outback with $25.00...
South Carolina vs. Nebraska
Swag: $420 shopping trip to a local Best Buy, Timely Watch Co. watch
The ever-present watch strikes again.
In spite of the redundant timepieces, this may be one of the better gifts.
I'm sure the Gamecocks could find something on which to watch the reels of Steve Spurrier's SEC team that actually won something of significance at Florida.
Ohio State vs. Florida
Swag: Fossil watch, Gator Gear performance headwear, rolling luggage bag, Jostens ring, commemorative football
Skip the gifts—the Urban Meyer thing is just too much fun to let other crap get in the way.
I guarantee that by the end of the game, rather than chanting "Urban Meyer" as they did at least season's bowl game, Gator fans will be jeering "Urban Liar."
Do you think they realize he really has nothing to do with this actual game?
Oregon vs. Wisconsin
Swag: Gift suite, Fossil watch, New Era hat, Oakley Flak Pack 3.0
Not much to say here; the gifts are pretty standard.
On a side note, take the over.
Right now it sits at 71.5, but these two teams put up points like LeBron James put up bricks in the NBA Finals.
Oklahoma State vs. Stanford
Swag: Gift suite, Kenneth Cole watch, cap, Ogio Convoy backpack.
This one is also sure to light up the scoreboard.
Brandon Weeden vs. Andrew Luck.
That backpack will be handy for two seniors packing up their lockers for the last time.
Virginia Tech vs. Michigan
Swag: Gift suite, Reactor watch, New Era cap, Majestic fleece pullover
Forgive me, but there is no way that Virginia Tech should be in this game.
I'm sorry, but Kansas State or Boise State deserved that Majestic fleece pullover far more than the Hokies.
Clemson vs. West Virginia
Swag: Gift suite, Tourneau watch
In spite of the supposedly subpar participants in this BCS game, this one should be a good game.
The Mountaineers and Tigers both have something to prove and could both use a lift heading into next season.
Kansas State vs. Arkansas
Swag: Fossil Watch, the rest is undisclosed
This game is going to be better than at least two of the games on the BCS slate.
Other than the watch (of course), we are not sure what the players will be receiving, but in the past gaming consoles have been part of the package.
Pitt vs. SMU
Swag: Beats by Dr. Dre (ear buds), Reactor watch, Oakley Eyepatch 2, Oakley backpack duffel, Big Game commemorative football
No slush funds here—these gifts are legit.
Of course, both these teams are struggling to be considered the same.
Should be a good game, and the gifts have some potential.
Arkansas State vs. NIU
Swag: Nikon S80, Timely Watch Co. watch, leather luggage bag, commemorative football
These guys are the only players that get a camera, and we are going to go ahead and assume this is to commemorate their trip.
Keep an eye on NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish. The man is a playmaker with his legs and his arm, and the Red Wolves have not faced a quarterback of his caliber in the Sun Belt Conference this season.
Alabama vs. LSU
Swag: Gift suite, Fossil watch, New Era cap, Boxer and Stone shirt
It's an all-SEC slugfest for the title. Hopefully fans of the Tigers and Tide enjoy it, because nobody else will be watching of their own volition.
That said, that shirt is going to be nice, and of course, you can't go wrong with a gift suite.