My argument: Deford is following, not leading.
I couldn't have described it any better. Frank DeFord has, IMHO, acheived his status because speaks very eloquently and with the aura of educated neutrality. To the knowledgable fan, however, he brings nothing to the table except usually outdate opinions and less than toughtful analyses. (Especially on soccer.)
Mid majors are not, to me, the "who cares" teams. Rather they're the ones that some people feel very passionately about, only there are a lot less of them when compared to UF, Nebraska, etc. Such programs may lack history or national appeal but are products known well enough that fans looking for sporting entertainment will accept it in lieu of more established brands. If Marshall v TCU is a "who cares" game, what does that make Sun Belt match-up?
It can also be said the term mid-major was contrived by the majors wishing to fight off association with more and more rising schools. Not that anyone would confuse Fresno State with the other FSU, but a number of schools have developed athletic programs that more closely resemble the majors than the true minors, hence the need to maintain the social order through creation of another sub-category within D-1.