- Extra Points
- How to turn the Pop-Tarts Bowl trophy into an actual toaster
How to turn the Pop-Tarts Bowl trophy into an actual toaster
Step one: Talk to actual electrical engineers
Good morning, and thanks for spending part of your day with Extra Points. I hope all of you had a Holiday Season filled with magic.
Typically, bowl sponsors of pre-NY6 bowl games fall into one of those categories. They’re either barely-financed insurance/FinTech/SaaS companies hoping to score just enough earned media coverage to keep them solvent for two years, or they’re one of the corporations from this Tweet.
We're a modest company with modest goals:
1: sell a quality product at a fair price
2: drain the world's oceans so we can find and kill god
— Stev D (@Stev_D)
Oct 21, 2014
But thankfully, there are a few exceptions…like the Pop-Tarts Bowl.
A few months ago, I wrote that Pop-Tarts is almost the perfect bowl sponsor, as a company that makes things you might buy at a gas station or Menard’s. But the bowl game became even more perfect earlier this week once they showed the world their trophy…which holds Pop-Tarts.
Trophies have evolved and evolved and we have now reached the apex:
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach)
Dec 26, 2023
It’s almost perfect. But there’s just one teensy little problem. The trophy doesn’t actually toast the Pop-Tarts. It just holds them, which is still very cool and something the Rose Bowl Trophy cannot easily do, What trophy is more prestigious and important? Well, it’s hard to say.
But that got me wondering. Is it possible to alter the trophy so it can fulfill its true destiny as the only bowl championship trophy capable of preparing breakfast?
I don’t know very much about electrical engineering, heat diffusion, or any of that stuff. But thankfully, my brother-in-law, Mark, is a talented electrical engineer, one with multiple patents to his name. Several Extra Points readers also have relevant engineering experience. So, when I was supposed to be on “vacation”, I started texting Mark and hitting up folks in the Extra Points Discord Server, asking if such a thing would even be possible.
As far as the toaster part? The consensus is yes, that could be pretty doable. After all, there are plenty of novelty toasters already on the market in a variety of weird shapes and sizes, and the trophy already has the recesses for the Pop-Tarts built in. Along with the relevant springs, buttons, and assorted Doodads, as I understand it, one could theoretically run a few heating coils inside the football to warm up the pastries. It would look something like this.
graphic design is my passion
But there are two other problems we have to figure out.
How do we make sure that the trophy doesn’t get too hot to touch?
There looks to be an awful amount of metal around that trophy, or at least metal-looking substances. If we just shove some heating coils down in there and attach them to a power source, we run the risk of heating the entire trophy, not just the immediate area around the delicious Pop-Tarts. If the trophy can’t be safely held up by the triumphant players, then it has failed its purpose as a trophy.
Essentially, we need some sort of insulation. Thankfully, the trophy design already has a perfect location for said insulation, as there is a metal pedestal lookin’ thing that separates the football (i.e. the toaster) and the rest of the trophy. “Insulating material doesn’t have to be heavy,” my brother-in-law explained to my Liberal Arts Major self. “Rubber, ceramic, synthetics, and other materials could all be used.”
So long as the power source wasn’t too powerful, the temperature not too high, and some protection built into the neck (and elsewhere), my engineering pals agreed, one could insulate the trophy to keep the toaster hot, without making melting the decorative ornamental Pop-Tarts on the side of the trophy, or scalding an offensive lineman.
But that leads us to what might be the hardest problem.
How do you power this thing?
I don’t know about you, but my regular ol’ toaster just plugs into the wall. That’s just fine since I can’t recall a moment in my life when I required portable toast-making functions. But a plug would defeat the point of a trophy. Nobody wants to limit their triumphant celebrations to the range of an extension cord that some poor operations staffer has to babysit. Nobody wants to risk their Pop-Tart coming out only half-baked because somebody tripped on the cord.
No, we need an internal power source. Which means we probably need batteries.
But what kind? And how many?
A typical toaster runs on roughly 1200 Watts, a figure I authoritatively arrived at by checking the label under my toaster and then googling a few other toasters to make sure mine wasn’t some special unique snowflake. But we also don’t need to run 1200 Watts for an extended period of time…30 seconds ought to be enough to warmly toast two delicious Pop-Tarts.
Mark tells me that finding a battery with the capacity to generate that kind of power isn’t really the problem. “In fact, a cell phone battery has enough power to toast the Pop-Tarts.” But you can’t just rig a tiny cell phone battery into the heating coils and hope for the best.
“The problem is, cell phone batteries can’t output that much power without exploding. You’ll need a battery system that not only can produce that much power but the ability to safely do so for short periods of time.”
While one could build a network of a few dozen cell phone batteries, you then potentially risk explosions from the combined heat of the rig. My brother-in-law, as well as a few EP readers, suggested another fuel source.
A car battery ought to do it. Failing that, perhaps one of those slightly smaller, emergency car-starter batteries.
You’ll need to bring in converters to make sure the voltage works with the specific heating coils, but essentially, I think you’re looking at something like this:
Requests to get the specific trophy dimensions via DMs to the Pop-Tarts Bowl Twitter account were unsuccessful.
This is a Big 12 / ACC bowl, right? Look, Georgia Tech is in this conference. Invite those guys and I am confident we can get schematics for a working, delicious prototype before next October. If any of you are engineers and would like to propose a prototype in more detail on how to convert this trophy into a working toaster, I am all ears.
That’s exactly the sort of stupidity that we need to keep bowl magic alive. What would you rather have, a Pop-Tarts Bowl Trophy that cooks Pop-Tarts, or a trophy that figures out how to give somebody a subprime mortgage?
Okay, so a quick recap of the housekeeping notes. As I’ve previously mentioned, I do not plan on regularly publishing newsletters for at least the next week.
Part of that is because I need to “crunch” and make sure that the next version of Athletic Director Simulator 3000 is ready for early 2024. Another major reason I’m taking a writing break is so that I can focus more attention on either finding a new buyer for Extra Points, a new strategic partner, or a new job. And also because, well, I don’t take vacations very often, and I need a minute to give my brain a rest. In between talking to prospective investors, I’m also playing board games with my children, reading books that have nothing to do with college sports, and letting my brain reset.
I will give all of you more information about the next steps for Extra Points as soon as I possibly can. I will just say that thanks to the overwhelming response I’ve gotten from my public announcement, I am more optimistic than I’ve been for weeks that Extra Points will continue in 2024.
Thanks so much for reading, everybody. I’ll see you all soon!
If you’d like to buy ads on Extra Points OR in ADS3000, good news! They’re affordable, and we still have openings for this year. Drop me a line at [email protected]. If you have news tips or FOIAs you want to share, I’m at [email protected]. Otherwise, I’m at [email protected], @MattBrownEP on Twitter, @ExtraPointsMB on Instagram, and @MattBrown on Bluesky