William Penn grad Knowledge Timmons tries to decide on a gift for his girlfriend during his bowl game sponsored shopping spree at Best Buy Tuesday
William Penn grad Knowledge Timmons tries to decide on a gift for his girlfriend during his bowl game sponsored shopping spree at Best Buy Tuesday afternoon in Orlando, Fla. (Daily Record/Sunday News -- Christopher Glass)
ORLANDO, Fla. - It was bowl event unlike anything Jared Odrick had experienced in five years, and the Penn State defensive tackle was taking full advantage, multitasking at full speed.

He carried a box of pizza in one hand, ate with the other.

He scanned the wall of jumbo, high-tech televisions.

And all the while he fired one question after another at the Best Buy employee trying to help out.

What could be better than a $420 gift card to spend as you wish on anything from phones to video games to iPods to DVDs - to nearly any type of electronic gadget imaginable?

That's just what the Capital One Bowl gave to every member of the Nittany Lions and their opponent, the LSU Tigers. The NCAA allows bowls to give out up to $500 worth of gifts to each player and many are now allowing some personal choice.

Florida Citrus Sports, which runs the Champs Sports Bowl and the Capital One Bowl, was one of the first to start the team shopping sprees.

The Lions enjoyed their outing after practice on Tuesday afternoon.

It started with free pizza and just got better.

And Odrick, the 300-pound senior, was one of the leading men, just like he is on the field.

He finally chose the 46-inch Insignia LCD TV along with some video games as gifts for family members.

The TV, which he can pick up at a store back home, goes for $800 and Odrick said making up the monetary difference wouldn't be a problem. He does expect to be a possible first-round NFL draft choice in a few months.

"That's what All-Americans do," cornerback and William Penn grad Knowledge Timmons said with a laugh. "They do All-American things."

Actually, it wasn't easy for most. Just so many, many choices.

Timmons grabbed a digital camera as a gift for his girlfriend. Then he put it back and took a mini-netbook, which is a tiny laptop computer.

Susquehannock's Chaz Powell took one netbook. Then he put that back and grabbed another. Then he looked at another.

Tailback Evan Royster picked up an Xbox 360 Guitar Hero 5 game.

Penn State defensive tackle Jared Odrick checks out flat-screen TVs with his team mates during his bowl game sponsored shopping spree at Best Buy Tuesday
Penn State defensive tackle Jared Odrick checks out flat-screen TVs with his team mates during his bowl game sponsored shopping spree at Best Buy Tuesday afternoon. (Daily Record/Sunday News -- Christopher Glass)

And linebacker Sean Lee somehow had empty hands 60 minutes into the spree, saying he couldn't decide, hoping he could take the gift card with him.

But, of course, many players researched their preferences on-line before they came and were ready. Others were busy calling family and friends from the store.

Certainly, this attracted a lot more interest than trips to the Magic Kingdom and Universal Studios.

"We've been looking forward to this since we got down here," said linebacker Navorro Bowman. "The guys love electronics."

"It's the best (trip) because it's the most needed," said freshman receiver Curtis Drake. "Everybody's trying to do some Christmas shopping because we weren't able to have Christmas with our own families."

How about the lamest gift anyone picked up?

Drake offered the Bluetooth snagged by quarterback Daryll Clark. The digital picture frame safety Drew Astorino got for his girlfriend came to mind, too.

Pressed on the matter, Clark smiled and protested in fun.

"I'm not even buying this stuff for me," Clark said. "I got a video game for my little cousin, I got an iPod for my little brother. This Bluetooth is for my mother."

He smiled a bit then, catching himself.

"That Guitar Hero? That's for me."

And Astorino had no problem explaining his gift choice. After all, he did pick up some speakers, movies and a mini-fridge for himself.

"Why spend my money," he said, "when I can spend the bowl's money?"