It would be nice to support more generic specs for the --branch
switch. But it is complicated because the refs have not been fetched
yet during the clone, and so normal refs operations -- which expect to
work on a local repository -- do not work.  So, the ref is looked up
locally from a list in expected locations after fetching the remote
refs but before the clone occurs.  The remote refs which are fetched
is not configurable during clone, and so only 'refs/heads/*' is
fetched for non-mirrors.

I was able to tweak git-clone to fetch the remote ref when I hacked
builtin/clone.c to check in 'refs' and also to extend the refspec to
something more broad ("+refs/*:refs/remotes/origin/*"), but this is
not a workable solution.  But there probably is a more correct way
than the hack I tried.

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