Matt Baker, Times Staff

Matt Baker

Times Staff

I love college football more than everything but my son, my wife and my dog, so I have the perfect job covering the sport for the Tampa Bay Times. Even though I grew up in a basketball state (Indiana) and graduated from a non-football power (Northwestern University), I’m fascinated by the game, the traditions and the pageantry. I joined the Times in July 2011 after stops at the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader and Tulsa (Okla.) World. Since then, I’ve covered almost everything — high schools, the Bucs, the Rays, the Lightning and auto racing — before becoming a full-time college sports reporter before the 2015. When I’m not working, I’m usually on a run, chasing a toddler around and waiting for kickoff.

Heisman Trophy: Why I voted for Kyler Murray over Tua Tagovailoa, Dwayne Haskins

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray made a late charge at the Heisman Trophy. [ AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter ]
Both Murray and Tagovailoa had historic seasons. Murray's was just a little more historic.

Skipping bowl games makes sense (and cents) for NFL draft prospects

Iowa tight end Noah Fant is among the notable players skipping his bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft. [ AP Photo/Holly Hart ]
Three bowl games of local interest will be without a top player who is choosing NFL draft preparation over the college exhibition game.

Florida Gators’ Dan Mullen congratulates Urban Meyer on his retirement

Before Dan Mullen (left) was the Florida Gators' head coach, he was an assistant there under Urban Meyer. [Times files (2008)]
'He has been a tremendous mentor and great friend,' Mullen says as Meyer retires.

Urban Meyer retires at Ohio State as one of college football’s greats

Urban Meyer is set to retire as Ohio State's coach, according to multiple reports Tuesday morning. [ AP Photo/Michael Conroy ]
Nick Saban could win every game for the next eight seasons and still not match Meyer's career winning percentage.

Florida Gators, FSU football had worst attendance years since the ’90s

Florida State's announced attendance for the Boston College game was its lowest since 1988. [ MATT BAKER | TIMES ]
But USF, UCF and Miami all reported larger home crowds.