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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 quarterback Kyle Trask (11) flips the ball in the air after running in for a touchdown during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. Florida won 29-21. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
    “In today’s college football world, people jump the gun,” coach Dan Mullen said. Trask never did.
  2. Florida running back Lamical Perine (2) attempts to break through an opening in the Kentucky defensive line during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
    The gap between UCF and UF is shrinking, at least on Matt Baker’s AP ballot.
  3. Kentucky tight end Keaton Upshaw (88) makes a catch over the defense of Florida defensive back Brad Stewart for a touchdown during the second half.
    Kentucky’s fancy facilities are obvious, even from the outside on game day
  4. Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (11) flips the ball in the air after running in for a touchdown during the second half.
    Psst, Kentucky: You might want to try defending the Gators’ receivers.
  5. Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (11) tries to avoid the defense of Kentucky linebacker Jordan Wright (15), and linebacker DeAndre Square (17) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. Florida won 29-21. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
    No. 9 UF rallied from 11 down to beat Kentucky on the road Saturday night.
  6. Florida coach Dan Mullen consoles quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) as he lies injured on the field during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. Florida won 29-21. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
    His teammates surrounded him before he was carted off the field.
  7. Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt watches from the sideline in the second half of the season opener against Georgia State in Knoxville.
    You know it’s bad when a coach is comparing his situation to the Titanic.
  8. Kentucky quarterback Sawyer Smith (12) throws the ball during the NCAA college football game between Kentucky and Eastern Michigan, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Lexington, Ky.
    Miami’s starting quarterback has a weird role in whom the Gators will face Saturday at Kentucky.
  9. Kentucky Wildcats players celebrate after beating Florida 27-16 in the Swamp last season.
    UF had some fatal flaws that doomed them in last year’s historic loss. Have the Gators fixed them heading into Lexington?
  10. Sep. 13• Florida State Seminoles
    Florida State's Cam Akers (3) runs for a touchdown during the first quarter of the season opener against Boise State.
    There’s a new No. 1 on this voter’s weekly list.