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Northwestern's "Bowl Swag" from the Gator Bowl Falls Short of Big Ten Counterparts' Gifts

by Kevin Trahan (@k_trahan)

We've long debunked the myth that bowl games are about the "student-athlete experience" and that they mean great financial gain for the schools. So what are bowl games really about? If you ask some players, it might be the gifts. Bowl games are allowed to give each player up to $550 worth of gifts, and ESPN's Big Ten Blog laid out what gifts each team is getting. This year, NU players are getting a Fossil watch, a Dome hat, a Mercury garment bag and carry-on bag, a Jostens ring and a football. That doesn't seem too bad until you consider that the Capital One Bowl gives teams a $420 shopping trip to Best Buy and a Fossil Watch. You think you were mad about NU missing out on Orlando? Imagine what the players are missing out on. Heck, even the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas — a bowl two steps below the Gator Bowl — gives out 32-inch TVs. The Gator Bowl's gift package is arguably the worst of the group and former NU players voiced their displeasure on Twitter.

Former offensive lineman Andrew Struckmeyer (also retweeted by former receiver Jeremy Ebert):

Former safety David Arnold:

ESPN's Brian Bennett wrote in his blog post that teams dread the Gator Bowl because of its lack of good gifts. When NU unexpectedly dropped from the Capital One Bowl to the Gator Bowl, it wasn't just trading an outstanding location in Orlando for a, well, less exciting location in Jacksonville; the Wildcats were trading one of the best gift packages for one of the worst ones. That makes the blown fourth quarter lead against Nebraska feel about 10 times worse now, huh?

Of course, you can't feel too bad for the players. I'm not really sure what a "Mercury garment bag" is, but if someone gave me one for free, I probably wouldn't say no to it. Plus, the Wildcats get to spend time in Florida during the winter, play an SEC team for a chance to end their bowl losing streak and play on national TV on New Year's Day. Life could be worse.

This season could be very memorable for Northwestern football, but in terms of "bowl swag," it's likely to be pretty forgettable for most players.