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Chad Kelly will start for Ole Miss against UT Martin, Hugh Freeze says

Yea, we all knew this was coming.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

For those of you expecting a Shyamalan twist out of the Ole Miss quarterback race, too bad. To absolutely no one's surprise, Hugh Freeze said Monday that Chad Kelly will be the starter for Saturday's season opener against UT Martin.

Freeze is still playing a bit of dancing game with this, qualifying that Chad will take the first snaps "unless something changes this week," according to Richard Cross. Freeze said the starter is not "set in stone" and that all three quarterbacks will see action on Saturday.

But let's be honest, this competition is over. Sure, juniors Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade had a two-year head start in learning Freeze's offense, but Kelly, who transferred in from East Mississippi Community College after a rocky stint at Clemson, is just straight up better at throwing a football.

(And swag. He has way more swag.)

Not too long ago, it looked like Freeze would let the competition linger into the season, saying during SEC Media Days that he might use the UT Martin and Fresno State games to decide on a starter before the Week 3 trip to Tuscaloosa. But Freeze abruptly changed tune two weeks ago, hinting that he was close to making his final decision.

At the time, we wondered if that secret starter might be Buchanan, given the game-manager vibe of Freeze's description of his anonymous favorite:

Over the course of 12 practices, he's handled blitzes much better. That may be the ultimate (factor). That's one of the top things you have to look at in a quarterback is how does he handle that?

Is that a time that the ball comes out carelessly or a time that you're setting the protections right and getting yourself protected to throw, standing in there taking a hit, taking care of the ball obviously and being efficient in moving the chains. Twelve practices I think I know who's done that better. I watch closely on the field.

As it turns out, that quote was presumedly about Swag Kelly. That's a good sign -- we knew he had the arm talent to jump to the SEC, but catching up with the offense and being able to make correct decisions and protect the football is the question mark.

Chad has always been the riskier play, thanks to his gunslinger mentality in the Buffalo, N.Y. night scene on the field, but he's also the right play. Sure, there's a higher chance of him turning the ball over in a crucial situation or getting arrested for fighting someone in an alley, but Freeze has to go for broke this year. With Robert Nkemdiche, Laremy Tunsil, Laquon Treadwell and the rest of the ridiculous 2013 class gearing up for the League, the Rebs' window to capitalize on the unprecedented stockpile of talent is closing (though the 2016 class may have something to say about that). They're simply not gonna make a run with Buchanan conservatively dinking and dunking, particularly with the lack of a ground game allowing defenses to crowd the box. If Ole Miss is going to make a serious run this season, it has to add a vertical threat to the offense, which is why Swaggy C is your starter.

Let's celebrate with some music, shall we?