When it comes to bowl gifts the gifts can be broken down thusly in order from best to worse:
Undisclosed - Mystery box, it could be anything? I'll take the box!
Gift Suite - Mysterious and it infers that I'll be able to choose from multiple items, which I like, 'cause choice is king.
Gift Card - preferably best buy, XBOX Ones aren't cheap and you have to get NCAA '14, cause you may not get another chance to play as yourself.
Sunglasses/Watch - Accessories that you don't mind having more than one of.
Ipads/Tablets various electronics - Can never have enough tech.
Headphones - Everyone goes Beats these days, no one needs two pairs of beats. Of course if they are the new 2014 beats, our athletes can upgrade AND sell the old ones on Ebay. (But only at reasonable market price without advertising that they are an athlete selling them - NCAA)
Food Gift Card - Doesn't cover tip..so that's the special benefit that costs you money.
Winter Gear - Cold weather bowls give them to warm weather teams because "ha they don't own winter jackets". In Buffalo we have plenty of winter jackets, also we rarely wear them because by February our blood is thicker than oil. Awful gift.
Commemorative gear - Can't sell it, serves no function, not edible, great one day for the office desk or trophy room, but for now, not much of a reward.
Travel Gear - Garmet bags and suitcases? No. I'll put my clothes in a paper bag, I want dem Beats Headphones son.
So based on that scale, using last year's gifts as a guide UB Bowl Rankings by gift:
8th Place: Famous
Jameis Idaho Potato Bowl:
- North End black winter coat
- Kombi winter gloves
- White Tiger Woods Victory Nike beanie
- Ogio Bullion backpack
- Big Game football
A combination of all the worst things: Cold weather gear, luggage, and commemorative football. Could I at least get a sack of potatoes? I'm hungry.
7th Place: Little Caesars Pizza
- Timely watch
- Leather travel sports bag
Redeemed by the watch, but only 3 items? It is the Little Caesars of Bowl Gifts, cheap, not that great, but hot and ready when you have no other options. I really hope the watch doesn't say Little Caesars, can't flash a Little Caesars logo watch in the club. Could have been redeemed by some gift certificates for a couple of those $8 deep dish pizzas.
6th Place: GoDaddy.com
- Sol Republic headphones
- Fossil watch
- Leather garment bag
- Wilson football
#4- #6 were very close, but the heather garment bag does in the GoDaddy bowl, along with a superfluous set of headphones.
5th Place: Beef O' Brady's
- Jawbone Jambox
- Oakley Dispatch II sunglasses
- Oakley backpack
- Schutt mini helmet
Jambox isn't superfluous, and it's tech, so it is superior to headphones. Oakley sungalsses and backpack are a good pair, but the mini helmet, a piece of useless commemorative gear, holds the Beef O' Brady's package back. If you're going to go helmet, go full sized helmet.
4th Place: BBVA Compass
- Fossil Watch
- Oakley Dispatch II sunglasses
- Wireless portable Speaker
Everything Beef O's has, plus a watch and a football instead of a mini helmet. This is a great package and even though it's 4th, I wouldn't cry about receiving it.
3rd Place: AdvoCare V100 Independence
- Gift Suite
- Timely watch
- New Era Cap
New Era Caps are great (not brought to you by the NYBI, just FYI), you get a watch, a football whatever, but the mystery of the gift suite puts AdvoCare at #3. Basically the suite would have to beat a Backpack, sunglasses and wireless speaker to best the BBVA bowl, but unless the suite looks like the prize room at Chuck E Cheese, AdvoCare's infusion of choice makes this the better gift.
2nd Place: San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl:
- Best Buy gift card
- Tourneau watch
- Maui Jim Sunglasses gift certificate
I'm an Orange County Teachers Federal Credit Union guy myself, but you gotta give it up to the SDCCU for this suite. Best Buy gift card = choice and tech great things in my book. Watch and sunglasses are great accessories to have and the sunglasses gift certificate is a nice wrinkle, nobody looks good in all sunglasses, I'm an aviators man. Give 100 guys the same pair of sunglasses chances are 50% hate them. Give 100 guys a sunglasses gift certificate, and watch out ladies next time the sun's out in Buffalo (estimated May 17, 2014).
1st Place: New Era Pinstripe (2011)
- Sony Video Camera
- Armitron watch
- Balfour ring
- New Era Duffle bag
- New Era cap, Winter Hat, Sweatpants, thermal, polo & crew shirt
Video Camera is tech, but completely unnecessary tech in the video phone era. Watch is nice, ring borders on the useless commemorative unless you're a ring guy. The redeeming factor is the plethora of New Era gear you get. I said I didn't like cold weather gear, but you get 2 full outfits from New Era, that's nice. Finally, what puts New Era over the top is that in 2012, New Era didn't disclose what they gave out. My imagination ran wild there. They are giving stuff so awesome, they don't want other players to know and get jealous. As I said before I'll always take the mystery box.