Top Five 2012 Bowl Gift Packages

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Top Five 2012 Bowl Gift Packages

bowls
Spruce Derden - USA TODAY Sports

You might think that the best bowl gift packages would come from those with the most prestige, anticipated ratings, expected payout or simply the BCS bowls themselves. That seems to make the most sense, doesn't it?

Surprisingly, this isn't the case at all. While the Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and Rose Bowls, let alone the BCS National Championship Game all have the most coveted hardware, smaller bowls are making teams' trips worth their while as well.

Some of the most common gifts found in these metaphorical goodie bags are Fossil watches, Oakley products, gift cards and caps, but some bundles go the extra mile.

During this season of gift-giving, beanie caps, pens and blankets are mere stocking stuffers. Coats, gloves and backpacks are no doubt appreciated, but bowl-eligible schools likely make sure their athletes are well stocked when it comes to apparel. A hat or calendar perhaps as an appetizer, but not part of the main course.

Interestingly enough, the kindness shown by the bowls featured today has often turned into goodwill by the players themselves who often take the opportunity to share their good fortune with friends and family. Talk about the holiday spirit at work.

Five bowls clearly want to make sure that regardless of the winner of their game, the loser will at least have some lovely parting gifts. How deep they're digging into their pockets to provide all members a festive holiday season may surprise you, let alone which ones earn the top accolades for their generosity.

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Meineke Car Care of Texas

Meineke
Brett Davis - USA TODAY Sports

The match-up between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and Minnesota Golden Gophers is one of, if not the worst of the bowl season, but the Meineke Care Care of Texas Bowl's brass isn't stingy.

The Red Raiders and Gophers will all be going home with Fossil watches, a belt buckle, T-shirts, a lapel pin, and a backpack. That might not sound like much of a gift pack until you throw in the 32-inch flat-screen TVs. One heck of a Hail Mary pass at the end there, MCCOD Bowl executives.

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Chick-fil-A Bowl

Chick
Daniel Shirey - USA TODAY Sports

Is a bowl sponsored by Chick-fil-A handing out their goodness to bowl participants? Absolutely, but the generosity doesn't stop there.

In addition to a gift card to the famous poultry palace, the Clemson Tigers and LSU Tigers will all be receiving Fossil watches, Russell Athletic Chick-fil-A Bowl hats, Russell Athletic travel bags and to top it all off, a $300 gift card.

Between Clemson and LSU's players, it's a fair bet that those gift cards for free chicken sandwiches will empty quickly.

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Outback Bowl

outback
Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports

The South Carolina Gamecocks and Michigan Wolverines are heading to Tempe which isn't quite The Outback, but the chain of steak-oriented restaurants is making sure their trip is worthwhile.

The SEC and Big Ten teams will receive Fossil watches, a bowl ring, cap, an Outback Steakhouse gift card to make sure they stay full and best of all, a $150 Best Buy gift card.

Even if there are vegetarians among either team, that Best Buy card will satisfy any electronic gadget appetite.

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Valero Alamo Bowl

alamo
Brendan Maloney - USA TODAY Sports

Remember the Alamo! Do you remember last year's game? Robert Griffin III led the Baylor Bears to a scoring explosion, but the Washington Huskies weren't about to roll over. The end result was a 67-56 classic.

This year, the Texas Longhorns and Oregon State Beavers may not put up as many points, but it should be an entertaining game.

Regardless, both teams will be treated to Fossil watches, $100 Best Buy gift cards, panoramic team photos, Schutt mini helmets and to top it all off, Apple iPad Minis. Not a bad haul, eh?

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Capital One Bowl

capital one
Brad Barr - USA TODAY Sports

Maybe the match-up between the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Georgia Bulldogs doesn't excite you just yet, but there's plenty of time for story lines to develop.

In the meantime, Capital One Bowl executives are out to make sure their participants have a good time across the board and that includes their prizes just for showing up.

Fossil watches will be handed out yet again, but so will a $420 shopping spree to a local Best Buy. Some teams get fantastic headphones as bowl gifts. Not only can the Huskers and Bulldogs get a pair if they want one, they can load up on DVDs, games and even buy presents for loved ones. Now that's a haul worth showing up for.

Brandon Cavanaugh is a college football columnist for Rant Sports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter: @eightlaces

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