Stanford is amazing and its sports are great for a top school. However, I noticed it receives a lot more hail mary apps now from people who somehow think Stanford they will be that "unique" applicant that Stanford lets in (which it apparently does every year with 1700 SATs getting in). Stanford has thus been pegged as being a land for "unique" students, but this has unfortunately taken on to mean "unique" but not quite exceptional enough for HYP (whose students are both unique AND exceptional).
Yes, people who value unique students with less OK stats will go to Stanford and those who don't like that should maybe go elsewhere, but in sending this message, Stanford is losing its prestige FAST. Or maybe it doesn't matter to them that HYP will always surpass them? Anyway, I care because I want to attend Stanford and don't want it to constantly be seen as being behind HYP. Columbia is now Stanford's equal here on the East Coast, for example, and the rankings only further cement this perception.
Cornell is also slipping in prestige. The Chinese who used to consider it prestigious are now dismayed by its lackluster performance in rankings (and you know how much they care about rankings). People here on the East Coast constantly make fun of its "state" schools and hotel school. What the heck? People now with marginal stats from my school are applying. Ugh. Duke is now seen as far superior to Cornell for example.