Matt Baker, Colleges Reporter

Matt Baker

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.

Former East Lake, FSU receiver George Campbell headed to Penn State

Florida State Seminoles wide receiver George Campbell (11) tries to escape North Carolina State Wolfpack safety Jarius Morehead (31) during the third quarter of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  ( Monica Herndon | Times )
His FSU career was limited by multiple injuries.

Ask Aric Almirola: What’s it like to be caught up in the big one at the Daytona 500?

Part of Aric Almirola's No. 10 Ford left the ground in Sunday's big crash at the Daytona 500. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
The Hillsborough High alumnus feared he was going to do a somersault during a 21-car crash Sunday.

FSU football didn’t sign a QB, but that doesn’t mean the sky is falling

Florida State quarterback James Blackman throws before a game against Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.,on Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Just ask Arizona State, which was in similar shape in back-to-back seasons and fared just fine.

With NASCAR’s new rules package, expect more competition and crashes

Denny Hamlin (11) takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/David Graham)
Martin Truex Jr.: “I feel like we’re going to have more surprises.”

Daytona 500: Tampa’s Aric Almirola has up-and-down day

Aric Almirola climbs into his car during practice for the Daytona 500 Friday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach. [AP Photo/Chris O'Meara]
The Hillsborough High alumnus briefly took the lead but was knocked out in the day’s big crash.