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. Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes is the betting favorite to be Super Bowl 55's MVP in Tampa.
  2. A worker paints the exterior of an entrance tent which is being constructed outside of Raymond James Stadium, part of the preparations on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, by the Tampa Sports Authority for Super Bowl LV, the 55th Super Bowl, scheduled to be played on February 7, 2021. This will be the fifth Super Bowl hosted by the Tampa area and the third held at Raymond James Stadium. The game will be televised nationally by CBS.
  3. Dan Mullen beat Georgia but did not make it to the College Football Playoff.
  4. Florida State quarterback McKenzie Milton continues to recover from the awful leg injury he suffered as UCF's star quarterback in 2018.
  5. Urban Meyer won two national titles at the University of Florida. What could he do coaching a Florida NFL team?
  6. Players celebrate with Alabama head coach Nick Saban after their win against Ohio State in the College Football Playoff national championship Monday in Miami Gardens.
  7. The Gators ended the season on a three-game losing streak, including an embarrassing performance in the Cotton Bowl.
  8. Alabama coach Steve Sarkisian was elevated from analyst to offensive coordinator just before the January 2017 national title game in Tampa.
  9. Alabama's Mac Jones likely will be an early-round pick in this spring's NFL draft. He could make sense for the Bucs.
  10. Alabama's Josh Jobe (a former top-150 recruit from Miami) breaks up a pass intended for Florida's Jacob Copeland in the SEC title game.
  11. Florida's Kyle Pitts, as expected won the Mackey Award as the country's best tight end.
  12. The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be moving back a month.
  13. Alabama star DeVonta Smith was a Heisman Trophy finalist, thanks to highlight-reel plays like this one.
  14. Florida star Kyle Trask was one of the top 10 players in the nation but didn't make one of the three spots on Heisman voter Matt Baker's ballot.
  15. Dan Mullen's track record of grooming quarterbacks, like Kyle Trask, would make him attractive to the NFL.
  16. Kyle Trask's final game with the Gators was a loss to Oklahoma in Wednesday night's Cotton Bowl.
  17. Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin will return to Tampa to lead his Rebels in the Outback Bowl.
  18. Dan Mullen's success grooming quarterbacks like Kyle Trask could make him an enticing option for NFL teams.
  19. Will Gators quarterback Kyle Trask become Florida's fourth Heisman Trophy winner?
  20. Emory Jones and the Gators were completely overmatched by Oklahoma in Wednesday's Cotton Bowl.
  21. The Florida Gators are without more than half a dozen key players in the Cotton Bowl.
  22. Florida Gators tight end Kemore Gamble will have an opportunity to play an increased role in the Cotton Bowl with All-American Kyle Pitts headed to the NFL.
  23. Dan Mullen wouldn't be surprised if his former Gators boss, Urban Meyer, returns to coaching at some point.