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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. Miami LB Shaquille Quarterman (55) during drills for the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field on Monday.
    “They don’t yet have the mentality of a Miami Hurricane,” the linebacker says during the days leading up to the East-West Shrine Game.
  2. Florida Gators wide receiver Antonio Callaway (81) runs the ball during the Outback Bowl in January at Raymond James Stadium. (Times file)
    Antonio Callaway was a talented but troubled player for the Gators who didn’t last two seasons with the Cleveland Browns.
  3. Florida receiver Josh Hammond (18) on the field during practice for the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field on Monday.
    Plus Plant High product Jake Fruhmorgen’s journey from Clemson to UF to Baylor to the East-West Shrine Game.
  4. Former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops was considered the front-runner for the Florida State job after Willie Taggart was fired. Instead, Stoops stayed with the XFL.
    “The emails...it’s amazing," Seminoles AD David Coburn said of fan reactions. We read the emails. They are amazing.
  5. Memphis linebacker Bryce Huff gets fired up after a play during a game against SMU at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas.
    Plus more East-West Shrine Game nuggets, including former Navy star quarterback Malcolm Perry practicing at receiver
  6. Florida Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) gets emotional after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter against Miami in the season opener.
    The Florida Gators finished about where I thought. But about Willie Taggart’s job security ...
  7. LSU tight end Thaddeus Moss celebrates after scoring during the first half of Monday night's national championship game against Clemson in New Orleans.
    LSU, of course, finished No. 1. But where did Matt Baker put the Florida Gators and UCF Knights?
  8. In this Dec. 28 file photo, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) works against Oklahoma during the first half of the Peach Bowl.
    Plus the matchup that could decide Clemson-LSU and a shout out to a Plant City product.
  9. Clemson running back Travis Etienne (9) eludes an Ohio State defender during the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 28 in Glendale, Ariz.
    Plus a look at just how dominant Clemson has been offensively under new USF coach Jeff Scott.
  10. Florida State tight end Tre' McKitty (6) gets stopped by Miami defensive back Jaquan Johnson (4) and defensive lineman Joe Jackson (99) during a 2018 game.
    The former three-star recruit started 19 games over the last two seasons for the Seminoles.