MPC COMPUTERS BOWL, Dec. 27
Fresno State vs. Virginia • Boise, Idaho
Haul: Blue parka, football, backpack, blue wool skull cap, Mediasonic MV600 ETC digital camcorder
"Any gift bag with a camcorder is good," said Fresno State sophomore cornerback Marcus McCauley, whose Bulldogs received a lot of clothing at last year's Silicon Valley Football Classic. "It's good timing. I was looking into getting a camcorder and was thinking about saving the per diem we get from the bowl to buy one. Weird how that worked out." SI PLAYERS RATING: [3 gifts]
HOLIDAY BOWL, Dec. 30
California vs. Texas Tech • San Diego
Haul: Tommy Hilfiger watch, fleece jacket, Mintek portable DVD player, twill cap
At last year's Insight Bowl, Cal players got a Sony digital camera, a Bulova watch and a blanket. "This year's stuff is better," says defensive back Donnie McCleskey (left), a junior from Chino, Calif., who was nonetheless envious when he heard what the Fiesta Bowl participants are getting. "You can't complain but... everybody likes an iPod." SI PLAYERS RATING: [3 gifts]
FIESTA BOWL, Jan. 1
Utah vs. Pittsburgh • Tempe, Ariz.
Haul: iPod mini, silver Bulova watch, Nike nylon drawstring bag with Frito-Lay products
Utah defensive end Kite Afeaki has been in the market for an iPod for some time. "Ever since I first saw it," the 22-year-old says. "Man, to get it for free ... I'm married, I got two kids, I got another on the way--I was thinking about buying one for myself, but there was no way in hell I was going to be able to afford it." What's the first song the junior plans to download? "Bob Marley's Pimper's Paradise. I'd love to load it up with all the reggae I can." SI PLAYERS RATING: [4 gifts]
SUGAR BOWL, Jan. 3
Auburn vs. Virginia Tech • New Orleans
Haul: Silver Nokia watch, Weber Baby Q Gas grill, APEX portable DVD player
Even with a grill in the offing, Tech DE Darryl Tapp (right) looks back longingly at the '02 San Francisco Bowl, when he got a Fossil watch and an MP3 player. "That was stuff I really wanted, plus it was my first bowl. I didn't know we'd get stuff like that, so it was a shock." Tapp still wears the Fossil watch, and he gave the Bulova he got at last year's Insight Bowl to his mother. Who'll get this year's wrist piece? Says the junior, "I don't know. It depends if I like it or not." SI PLAYERS RATING: [4 gifts]
ALAMO BOWL, Dec. 29
Ohio State vs. Oklahoma State • San Antonio
Haul: Long gray-blue woolen jacket, Oakley Crush 2.0 watch, black Bishop fleece pullover, mini Alamo Bowl helmet, sling bag, video games (ESPN College Hoops and NBA 2K5)
Beware I-35 drivers: Oklahoma State safety Vernon Grant (above) uses the portable DVD player he got at the 2003 Cotton Bowl each time he makes the four-hour drive home to Duncanville, Texas. "I plug it in my car, pop a movie in and I'm on my way," says the 5'9", 180-pound junior, who had hoped for either a camcorder or an iPod this year. "Aw, man," he said upon learning of the Alamo gift list. "We're gonna have to get that iPod next year then." SI Players Rating: [2 gifts]
SUN BOWL, Dec. 31
Purdue vs. Arizona State • El Paso
Haul: Silvertone analog watch, Armor Gear backpack, Sahara black cotton mock turtleneck, Sahara short sleeve shirt, two baseball caps, Vitalis hair dryer, commemorative coin, commemorative keychain, disposable camera
"How exciting do the gifts sound? Want my hair dryer?" asks Purdue's senior QB Kyle Orton (left). "I just like getting the rings Purdue gives us. I give those to my dad, who keeps them stored away. I was hoping for an iPod, but the better the bowl, the better the gifts." Ouch. SI PLAYERS RATING: [1 gift]
OUTBACK BOWL, Jan. 1
Wisconsin vs. Georgia • Tampa
Haul: Gold ring with blue stone and fake diamonds, silver Nautica watch, football with team logos, baseball cap, GPX CD player
"We always get watches, so it's nice to finally get a ring," says Wisconsin defensive back Scott Starks (right), who received wrist candy at the 2003 Music City Bowl and 2002 Alamo Bowl. "It's not really free stuff because we work hard to get there, but it's a nice little pat on a back. We're getting stuff we need, but I'll probably give these things to my parents and family as Christmas gifts--that way I won't have to spend any money." SI PLAYERS RATING: [2 gifts]
ORANGE BOWL, Jan. 4
USC vs. Oklahoma • Miami
Haul: Sony digital camera/recorder, Fossil watch and wallet, Nike small rolling duffel bag, commemorative mini helmet, Orange Bowl hat, team picture plaque
"I asked my family for a wallet for Christmas--I guess I should tell them not to get it for me anymore," says USC senior guard Travis Watkins, who regularly uses the watch and backpack he got at last year's Rose Bowl. "This stuff is not going to collect dust around me. I'll definitely use the camera--all I have is a 35-millimeter at home." SI PLAYERS RATING: [3 gifts]
[4 gifts] Goody-Goody!
[3 gifts] Goody!
[2 gifts] Good!
[1 gift] God!