December 7, 2004 6:05 am ET by Kyle Whelliston
ESPN College Hoops 2K5
As I mentioned last week in this space, EA Sports' NCAA March Madness 2005 doesn't let you fill in the rosters and player attributes for all D1 teams - only about 27 of them. It also has Dick Vitale commentary.
So just because ESPN's entry is about $20 less doesn't mean you're a cheapskate, it's because you care about giving your gamer friends and relatives a proper college basketball experience. So buy this one. Then, after they unwrap it, send them here so they can get started towards playing the entire 2004-05 slate of SWAC games the right way.
Available from Amazon for $18.95
Campbell Fighting Camels Ballcap
Obscure team logos are so cool these days that leading clothing manufacturers are actually making up teams (i.e. all those stupid "Tigers - City Champions" shirts you see at the mall). So why not keep it real?
The Campbell Camels may be the Atlantic Sun's doormats, but none of your friends know that. You'll give your buddy this hat, and he'll say, "Hey, cool hat, man. Thanks." Then he'll wear it all year - to Spring Break, to the Dave Matthews Band show, to the bar that night when he'll "accidentally" make out with your girlfriend behind the dumpster. It's always good to give folks something they'll actually use.
Available from Campbell Bookstore for $13.95
St. Mary's College T-Shirt
Last season, the St. Joseph's bookstore was so overwhelmed with requests for merchandise that by February, people were lining up outside the bookstore every morning before it opened. But this year, there's a new Saint on the block - St. Mary's College of California. The classic, simple design of this t-shirt is perfect for a shootaround or a walk in the park, and it says "Gonzaga is so 10 minutes ago" without actually saying it.
Available from SMC's Online Store for $22.00
Old Dominion Sweatshirt
This cozy sweatshirt is sure to please. Whether your intended recipient knows anything about the Colonial Athletic Association or not, they'll love kicking ass and taking names - or just snuggling - in this Champion-brand crewneck with the bold "lion" design. Lions are awesome!
Available from ODU's Online Store for $24.95
Creighton Bluejay Pennant
Whatever happened to pennants? When I was a kid, everyone seemed to have them on their walls, and it was the ultimate sign of devotion - if you were willing to mark up your wall with thumbtacks for a team, well then you'd go all the way to the gates of hell with 'em. But nowadays, pennants are tough to find anymore.
This 12" x 30" color flockplus woolfelt dealie will look great in a den, dorm room, or cubicle. Let them put it up as soon as possible, so that when it comes time to fill out their brackets they'll be able to say that they were hip to Creighton all season.
Available from Creighton Bookstore for $18.00
Lee Caryer, The Game They Played
Everyone loves getting books for the holidays, because they can put them on their shelves and make their houseguests think they're really smart. But it's not easy finding books about small college programs in amongst all the books about Duke and Carolina. This is probably the best hoops-underdog book out there not called The Last Amateurs - it's about the City College teams of the Fifties and their point-shaving scandals, and I recommend it. Anyone who's looking for a season-chronology type thing may enjoy Bobcat Pride, which is about the 1994-1995 Ohio team.
Available from Amazon.Com for $9.00
UC-Irvine Anteater Plush Mascot
Zot! The mascot of California-Irvine was inspired by Johnny Hart's "B.C." cartoon. When you give the gift of Peter the Anteater, the hugs and the love will last all year long.
According to the UCI website, anteaters are "often referred to as the ninjas of the animal kingdom, with their powerful claws and lightning-fast reflexes." Like many of you, I unquestioningly believe everything I read on the Internet.
Available from the UCI Bookstore for $11.95
Western Kentucky Big Red Plush Mascot
Is there any doubt that he's the coolest, sexiest towel-waving red blob in the world? Well, no, there isn't. Star of innumerable ESPN SportsCenter commercials, member of the All-America Mascot Team, and perhaps the centerpiece of a future CBS primetime sitcom, Western Kentucky's Big Red is your furry pal through thick and thin. I mean, your gift recipient's pal. Yeah, like you're going to want to let someone other than yourself have all the Big Red fun. Damn, why do you have to be so selfish all the time?
Available from the WKU Bookstore for $12.95
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Afghan Throw
So, you've caught Islander Fever, have you? Well, then put your money where your mouth is, buddy! The online bookstore of the Internet's new favorite independent D1 school, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, doesn't offer too much in the way of product images... but no matter. Whether they need a spare beach towel on South Padre or are stuck up north in the cold, this big logo-covered afghan will soften the toughest schedule and increase their RPI with the llladies.
Available from TAMU-CC Bookstore for $39.99
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