When you see players celebrating their bowl bids, it's not just because they get to play another game. They also know they're about to get some pretty cool free stuff.
The NCAA allows each bowl game to give up to $550 worth of gifts to 125 players per team. Players can also get up to $400 in swag from the school itself and another $400 from their conference for postseason games, which include conference title games.
At some games, bowls set up gift suites where the players can go in and choose whatever they want up until they hit their spending limit. It's like Black Friday, only better because everything is free. The difference between going 5-7 and 6-6 can be the difference between getting a free flat-screen TV and going home with nothing.
SportsBusiness Journal has tracked the gifts given out from each game the past several years and has the list of goodies for this season's bowls. Here are what Big Ten bowl teams can expect to receive:
Heart of Dallas: Purdue
Unspecified gift suite
Meineke Car Care of Texas: Minnesota
Fossil watch, 32-inch flat-screen TV, belt buckle, T-shirt, lapel pin, backpack
Buffalo Wild Wings: Michigan State
Gift suite presented by PAC Sports Division, Fossil watch, Ogio Mercur backpack
TaxSlayer.com Gator: Northwestern
Fossil watch, Dome hat, Mercury garment bag and carry-on bag, Jostens ring, football
$150 Best Buy gift card, Fossil watch, ring, cap, Outback Steakhouse gift card
Capital One: Nebraska
$420 shopping trip to a local Best Buy, Fossil watch
Rose presented by Vizio: Wisconsin
Gift suite, Fossil watch, Oakley backpack, New Era Thirty9 Thirty cap
Looks like just about everybody is going home with a Fossil watch, so players on these teams won't have much excuse for being late for future team meetings. ... Teams secretly dread the Gator Bowl, not only for its blah location in Jacksonville, but because its bowl swag is weak compared to other games. ... For being a minor game, the Meineke Car Care bowl hands out a pretty nice reward with a free TV.