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Matt Baker - Colleges and Recruiting Reporter

Colleges and Recruiting Reporter

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.

  1. Iowa State expects Jack Trice Stadium to be at about half capacity this season. [MATTHEW PUTNEY  |  AP]
  2. The Florida Gators added to their top-10 recruiting class on Tuesday. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  3. A football-only facility has been on Florida State's priority list for years. But is it really a priority, especially given the current pandemic?
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  5. The Florida Gators will resume voluntary practices next month. [Tampa Bay Times]
  6. Outback Bowl president Jim McVay is navigating the uncertainty around college football and its bowl season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  7. Jauan Williams started eight games at offensive tackle for Florida State over the past two seasons. [JOHN MERSITS  |  ZUMAPRESS.com]
  8. The Florida Gators (and everyone else) got a step closer to a 2020 football season with an NCAA decision Wednesday. [Tampa Bay Times]
  9. The Miami Hurricanes will likely play football this fall but without fans, the school's president said Wednesday on CNN. [Tampa Bay Times]
  10. Florida State is still scheduled to open at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, just as the Seminoles did against Alabama in 2017. [CHRIS URSO  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  11. Miami coach Manny Diaz wants his players to take the coronavirus threat seriously and to take steps to protect themselves and each other. [WILFREDO LEE  |  AP]
  12. NASCAR's race at Darlington on Sunday will be one of the biggest sporting events since the coronavirus pandemic shutdown. [TERRY RENNA  |  AP]
  13. Mario Williams is the area's top recruit for the 2021 recruiting class. [Times (2018)]
  14. In this Feb. 17, 2020, file photo, Ryan Newman (6) goes airborne after crashing into Corey LaJoie (32) during the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Newman, who suffered a head injury, will race Sunday when NASCAR resumes its season at Darlington Raceway. [CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP]
  15. There has been at least one preliminary, hypothetical talk about Ben Hill Griffin Stadium hosting an NFL team this fall. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  16. Under a scenario explained by the SEC, Georgia's 1942 Heisman Trophy winner, Frank Sinkwich, could have transferred to Tulane because of the war and still been eligible immediately. Imagine what would look like in today's transfer portal era. [ANTHONY CAMERANO  |  ASSOCIATED PRESS]
  17. Grand Prix staff works to remove the show car from the entrance of the Mahaffey Theater after the news that the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic on March 13. Now IndyCar hopes that the race will be the season finale in October. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
  18. The Florida Gators went 3-7 in 1942 before pausing the football program the next year because of World War II. [University of Florida (1942)]
  19. Local players like former Countryside High quarterback Trent Chmelik dotted the roster at Florida Tech. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  20. Cars are lined up in the parking lot outside of Raymond James Stadium on March 25 as Tampa residents arrive for coronavirus testing. Will the current pandemic keep the stadium from opening as planned in September for the NFL season? [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times]
  21. Esta es la señal para que nuestro hijo de tres años no entre a la oficina porque mami o papi están en alguna llamada de trabajo. . [MATT BAKER  |  Matt Baker | Times]
  22. Griff is one of the obstacles at the in-home golf course of University of Florida alumni Houston and Natalie Bailey. [Courtesy Houston Bailey]
  23. This stop sign tells our 3-year-old it's not time to enter the home office because Mommy/Daddy is on an important work call. [MATT BAKER  |  Matt Baker | Times]
  24. I wonder what Feleipe Franks thinks of ESPN's projections, which have his old Florida Gators behind UCF as the top playoff contender in the state. [ALLIE GOULDING  |  Times]