Reporter: "Did you actually go 119-119-3 picking games in the regular season last year? That seems really hard to do, even if you tried."
Pickens: "Precise Mediocrity has become my calling card the past two seasons. There is nothing more frustrating than being average. I have a graduate degree in mean reversion. That being said, I feel strongly that this year could be the breakout performance I've been looking for. Why? Because it's July and this is media day. If I can't be show bravado and confidence now, I'd really be in trouble."
Reporter: "As a Miami fan, I'm sure you're familiar with life on the hot seat. Given the recent performance (or lack thereof) of your picks, are you concerned about your future at State of the U?"
Pickens: "Look, the bottom line is I haven't gotten the job done up to this point. This website has high expectations, but not higher than the expectations I put on myself. I'm trusting the process and know I've put in the work necessary to improve. I recognize that in the year 2015, the word patience no longer exists, but I can't let that bother me. I have a job to do. If I don't pick enough winners and the powers that be decide my column should go to a computer algorithm, so be it."
Reporter: "How do you deal with the criticism that will likely come if you start the season off poorly?"
Pickens: "In my role, only those with thick skins survive. People like winners. During my struggles in bowl season the past few years, I've had a lower approval rating than Donald Trump in Mexico, but I don't let it bother me."
Reporter: "What changes have you made this offseason that you think will help your results on the field?"
Pickens: "Well for starters, I'm eating much better and taking care of my body. I've gotten much stronger this offseason and State of the U's strength coach has really done a terrific job preparing me for this fall. The extra energy combined with the 4 cups of coffee I consume a day should give me the boost I need to get through all of Bill Connelly's previews and numerous other college football publications by late August. In an effort to get my young son interested in football, we've been watching countless games from 2014 on BTN, ESPNU, and SECNetwork to refamiliarize myself with teams and players.
I also am so relieved that I'll finally be able to enjoy college football shows on ESPN again. The end of the Lou Holtz and Mark May era brought tears to my eyes. Those two being out of my life is worth at least a win each week just from a confidence/mental health standpoint."
Reporter: "It's funny you mentioned BTN because your Big Ten picking was somewhat of a train wreck last year. Do you plan to keep choosing B1G games this fall or have you thrown in the towel?"
Pickens: "I know the numbers. I've been staring at them all offseason. I was 14-29 in Big Ten games last season. Despite other sites having severe transfer restrictions, I've talked it over with State of the U management and they've generously agreed to not limit what conferences I'm allowed to pick games from, at least for the time being. Until told otherwise, I'll be barnstorming my campaign through Iowa this fall with the rest of the 93 Republican presidential candidates."
Reporter: "Is there a player or team that you will rely heavily on this year, regardless of how frustrating they've been in the past?"
Pickens: "First off, I'm devastated that Bo Wallace, Cole Stoudt, and Gary Nova have graduated. I will likely be all over Colorado this season, backing my guy Sefo Liufau +21 at every chance I get. I'm still a sucker for the talents of Utah QB Travis Wilson. Arizona QB Anu Solomon ruined me late last year, but I still love his talent and will want to pick all of the 1030pm Pac12 games. Rice and QB Driphus Jackson will be picked by me early and often this fall. Last but not least, I'll be picking against Louisiana Tech and their new QB Jeff Driskel (Yes the UF one) on a weekly basis until he gets benched."
Reporter: "It seems like coaches are really focused on trying to bond with their players in any way possible. Bret Bielema and Dan Mullen seem to be doing that by wearing new shoes - Air Force Ones and Yeezys. What does John Pickens use in recruiting?"
Pickens: "I stick with an old classic that I still rely on from my childhood. The Air Bombay Loafers - For kids who want to coach."
Reporter: "We have seen our fair share of crazy uniforms across the country the past few years, with more and more teams wearing increasingly bizarre alternate uniforms for big games. Miami in particular has experimented with some unfortunate orange and green helmets that have not brought much winning on the field. What is your view on the new Adidas uniforms? What does John Pickens wear on Saturdays?"
Pickens: "Great question. I know the players and recruits loved all the smoke jerseys and the monstrous U's and the bright helmets, but I never bought in. I'm a traditionalist at heart. That being said, I'm very excited about the Adidas uniforms. I like that Miami will have a new identity this season and Adidas seems to keep things relatively simple in terms of design. The Three Stripe Life is fine by me, but they'll only be cool if the guys wearing them win games on the field this season. As for my wardrobe, all I need on Saturdays is a Pickens or UM hat, a UM polo shirt, and cargo shorts to fit the three extra cell phone batteries I lug around. Following ten games at once isn't easy, but it is the job I was born to do."
Reporter: "Will this finally be the year that Miami wins the Coastal? Who will have a breakout season for Miami?"
Pickens: "Absolutely. The time is now. Kaaya wins ACC Player of the Year, Miami wins at least the Coastal Division, and yours truly wins 60% of his picks. It's July and optimism is in the air. The wide receivers will provide much more of a spark than some prognosticators expect. Herb Waters has a big year, Stacy Coley is once again the playmaker we saw in 2013, and Braxton Berrios becomes a third-down machine. Go Canes."