“We have been criticized for not fulfilling the mission of a public land-grant institution. [... But] we have gotten really good press. We have walked the fine line between illegal, unethical, and really interesting.”
That quote is from Catherine Watt, the former institutional researcher and now a professor at Clemson University; she's talking about the extraordinary efforts made by Clemson to reach the top 20 in US News rankings.
Read this article to get a sense of the pernicious effects of half-baked rankings such as that by US News.