My team is sitting at 4-4 right now and going by the latest rpi we are in 10th place. If we win out we have a shot of getting in but also might need a little help. I look at some of the ones ahead of us rpi wise and honestly feel that we played a little tougher schedule. Of course we have a few bad teams on the schedule that hurt our rpi,; games we won by blowout. While the games we lost were to tough opponents and were fun games to watch, two determined in the last minute, I can't help but think the math works against us.
Before you indict Plant or the system (and assuming this were to happen), I think you have to look at two things . . . in addition to the combined record of the teams that Plant has lost to this year (41-7; 41-3 if you take out losses to other teams in the group of six): First, until the changes a few years back (3 years ago??), district runners up automatically made the playoffs. Because Plant won its district 14 years in a row, it never had to worry about sliding in the playoff backdoor as a runner up. But that would be the case this year if we were still operating under the old system that was in place for more years than I can count (and, again, assuming Plant wins this week). Second, I think you have to look at the other teams in Region 2. Take out the top 6 teams or so (for purposes of argument, Dr. Phillips, Kissimee Osceola, Lake Nona, Steinbrenner, Sarasota Riverview and Newsome and perhaps Lennard if you want to add a 7th team) and there really aren't that many, if any, other playoff-caliber teams. Perhaps I have just proven your point and that it is the new system, and not any one team, that will deserve to be indicted if all that comes to fruition. But just remember, the reward that a 8 or 7 seed gets for sneaking into the playoffs is a road game against the best or second best team in the region. In other words, after week one of the playoffs, it really becomes a moot point.
I think a team that loads up on highly difficult teams (Trinity Christian, Pahokee) and wins half or less are definitely going to struggle in 1A-4A to make the playoffs. I said at the beginning of the year that Pahokee would not make the playoffs because of how difficult their schedule was. Trinity Christian the same thing. You can schedule all the hard teams you want, but ultimately you have to win some of those games. If 4-6 Plant makes the playoffs, I think that will be an indictment of the system, just like last year an 0-9 Gadsden County making the playoffs was.
As for playing 4 cupcakes, if you are a middle of the road team for your classification (Suwannee would be a good example), then it would be easier to schedule local cupcakes because nobody thinks you are going to dominate them. As a result, you end up with 6-7 wins and a good chance of making the playoffs.
The FHSAA is trying to find ways for tough teams to play tough teams, and because teams can make their own schedules teams can refuse to play tough teams or end up traveling 3+ hours to find a game. The reality is that promotion/relegation would slowly push teams to their correct spot.