My GOODNESS do I love journalism with examples and facts like this. This is GREAT stuff, Robert. It's hard to argue with anything you laid out here. I'm sure folks could try, but the ratings system has definitely gotten lazy and feels more like a front for selling articles.
The only way to see how proliferated this is amongst college football is to see if it's played out for many (all?) teams...both up and down the rating scale.
I know that won't be something that is done here, but it'd be interesting to see if Texas is the most egregious offender (due to their fanbase eating up content) or simply one of many egregious offenders.