Brian Branch is not the first Alabama NFL Draft hopeful to toss aside the possibility of not playing in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Eve against Kansas State.

The star Alabama defensive back joined quarterback Bryce Young in sharing that notion, and for similar reasons. He explained Tuesday afternoon that it was simply something he wanted to do and he wants to take pride in finishing the season strong, even if it di not necessarily go as planned.

More than anything else, this says a lot about the culture of the Crimson Tide program. Bowl season has taken on a new meaning as more and more players opt to skip their respective bowl games in fear of sustaining an injury that will plummet their draft stock.

And while that’s a fair argument, other players just don’t see it that way. Branch, for what it’s worth, is expected to be a first round talent in the 2023 NFL Draft.

He wouldn’t know it right now.