Dolphins Take Sides For National Championship Game

Posted Jan 9, 2017

There are four players on the Dolphins roster who are alums of Clemson and Alabama, the two teams who will do battle at Raymond James Stadium on Monday night.

After he was done reflecting on the Dolphins’ season, defensive end Andre Branch was asked about the big football game on tap for Monday night: the college football national championship game.

“Clemson Tigers!” Branch said with no hesitation. “National champs. I don’t care if it’s 2-0. Clemson Tigers, national champs.”

Branch is one of four players on the Dolphins roster who’s an alum of the two teams who will do battle at Raymond James Stadium on Monday night, Clemson and Alabama.

Like Branch, cornerback Byron Maxwell played at Clemson; rookie running back Kenyan Drake and guard/center Anthony Steen played at Alabama.

The game is a rematch of last year’s national championship battle, which Alabama won 45-40, thanks in large part to Drake.

Drake returned a kickoff for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to give Alabama a 38-27 lead.

Drake left Alabama with two national titles, having also been a member of the 2012 title team. Steen was a member of three national title teams — 2009 as a redshirt, 2011 and 2012.

Clemson’s one national title came in 1981, although the Tigers did come close last year.

“If it wasn’t for him,” Branch said of Drake. “We would have been all right. We had some talks and then he started playing pretty well (for the Dolphins). So I said, all right, he did it in the NFL, too. I can live with it.”

Branch said there already has been some trash talking going on between the Bama and Clemson alums. Branch and Maxwell were planning on attending the game together, and Branch said Drake also was planning on being at Raymond James Stadium on Monday night.

“We’re going to be national champs on Monday night,” Maxwell told the Palm Beach Post on Sunday. “There’s no doubt in my mind. Really, I don’t think it’s going to be close, though. That’s what you want to hear?”

Branch was asked to provide a breakdown of the Clemson-Alabama rematch and the reason he thinks his alma mater will win.

“Because we’re better,” he said. “No breaking down. National champs. Bleed orange.”
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