Rankings tell us two of best teams in the nation are meeting in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs.
They tell us only one of two of the highest-ranked teams in the country will get to play for the Class 8A state title.
And because of geography, only one of Class 7A's two tradition-rich behemoths, Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer or Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, will make it to Orlando for a December date with a state championship game.
There's no way around it.
By Saturday morning, either Fort Lauderdale University School or Miami Booker T. Washington will be out of the running for the Class 4A crown. Booker T. is ranked No. 1 by MaxPreps and USA Today.
But anyone who was at Hawkins Stadium on Oct. 28 and watched University nearly hand Manatee its first regular-season defeat in more than two years would have put their car on that team getting past the second round of the state playoffs.
University vs. Booker T. for the Class 4A championship. Sounds great, right? Well, you have to settle for University vs. Booker for the Class 4A-Region 4 championship instead.
Or take a look at Manatee's road to Orlando, which includes a challenging Class 8A-Region 2 semifinal Friday at Fort Pierce Central. The Hurricanes and Cobras, along with Orlando Dr. Phillips, Tampa Plant and of course, Apopka, home to the highest-scoring offense in the history of the state, would look right at home lining up for the state crown, probably against Miramar, on Saturday, Dec. 14 in the Florida Cit
But only one of those teams gets to go, which means either Manatee, ranked tops in Class 8A for the entire year and a steady climber in a number of national polls, or Apopka and its 606 points in 11 games, will be watching the final from their couches.
Gnash your teeth and pound your fists. Send a stream of protest letters to the folks in Gainesville.
It's your right. But it doesn't make it right.
Really, there is no way Florida's state football playoffs will appease everyone.
Seeding teams based on rankings has been floated on more than one occasion, but then you'll have media members, many of whom don't see 75 percent of the teams they vote on, having a hand in picking a state champion.
What's great about the high school game is the only people who can alter the state's championship records are the kids on the field and the coaches on the sideline.
How about overall record?
Won't work either. First, most of the teams rarely have common opponents. Second, what if a 9-1 team is a district runner-up while a 5-5 team wins its district? Who gets the better seed? And lastly and most importantly, say hello to cupcake central. Why would teams schedule challenging non-district opponents if all that will do is make their road to the state championship game even rockier? The days of cross-country matchups and national powerhouses looking to play other national powerhouses will be over.
But does the system need fixing? Can anyone say Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas didn't deserve to win the Class 7A state title last season, especially after how well the Raiders played in the state semifinals against a Hurricanes team two wins away from claiming their first national championship?
Didn't think so.
The prep high school playoffs are what they are: Win and you keep playing; lose and you don't.
It's simple. It's clean.
And right now, it's the only sensible way to crown a champion.
John Lembo, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7057. Follow him on Twitter at @JohnLembo1878.