The current "one-size-fits-all" rankings regime creates a winner take all environment where institutions are rewarded for investing in things having little to do with education and brand is what is optimized for, not learning. This arms race occurs at every stratum of higher education, with each institution trying to beat out its nearest peers, not just the upper echelons.
How should we measure the success of a state-funded college? Graduating students into jobs? If so, what kind of job would be considered a success, and should these schools focus solely on job-training for those roles? If you can't afford a private college, should you be able to study philosophy, even if statistics show you will face a 13.6% unemployment rate?