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Matt Baker - Colleges Reporter

Colleges 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. Florida tight end Kyle Pitts (84) celebrates after scoring a touchdown on a 15-yard pass reception during the second half against Vanderbilt on Nov. 9 in Gainesville.
    The Florida Gators still have a lot to play for, even with a sleepy game in cold Columbia.
  2. Kyle Busch (18) approaches Turn 1 during the NASCAR Cup Series championship auto race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Homestead, Fla.
    Next year, NASCAR will move its finale away from south Florida, its host since 2002.
  3. Florida quarterback Emory Jones looks for a receiver against Towson during the second half on Sept. 28 in Gainesville.
    Feleipe Franks, Kyle Trask and Emory Jones all have remaining eligibility, which adds an interesting dynamic to next season.
  4. Florida State head coach Willie Taggart, right, disagrees with the referee in the first half of his final game with the Seminoles, Nov. 2 against Miami in Tallahassee.
    There are reasons to think quick hooks and mid-season dismissals are the new norm.
  5. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws a pass in the first half of an NCAA football game against Alabama Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Tuscaloosa , Ala. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
    Two notable teams fell despite 50-plus point wins. That happens sometimes.
  6. Florida wide receiver Trevon Grimes (8) runs after a reception past Vanderbilt linebacker Kenny Hebert (21) during the first half in Gainesville.
    Kyle Trask’s 363 yards were the most by a Florida quarterback since Tim Tebow in 2008. But give credit to the guys catching his throws.
  7. Quarterback Kyle Trask threw for 257 yards and got the Gators back in the game vs. Georgia in the second half, but Florida lost 24-17.
    The last three times Florida lost to Georgia, the Gators lost the next game by double digits.
  8. In this Dec. 2, 2017, file photo, Florida State interim head coach Odell Haggins watches the team warm up before a game against Louisiana Monroe in Tallahassee. Now he finds himself as the interim coach again just two seasons later.
    Haggins has been at FSU through the highs of two national titles and the last three years of lows.
  9. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) passes in the first half against Florida in Baton Rouge, La., on Oct. 12, 2019.
    Bill Clinton once took a nap on Nick Saban’s couch. No, really.
  10. Washington State head football coach Mike Leach gestures to his team after a penalty call during the second quarter of a game against Oregon on Oct. 26.
    Only two potential targets fit all three of Kirk Herbstreit’s criteria. And one of them seems happily retired.