Many college football games have made changes to their schedules due to Hurricane Ian, while the NFL is standing pat on its lone game in Florida.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have moved practices to Miami this week to avoid the storm. After exploring contingency plans for Tampa Bay’s Sunday night primetime game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the NFL announced Thursday that the game will take place at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday night.
“Our thoughts and prayers remain with the many thousands in the Southwest Florida region who have been severely impacted by Hurricane Ian,” the Bucs said in a statement Thursday. “We are also very thankful that the Tampa Bay area was spared the most damaging consequences of this powerful storm. We have informed the NFL, after consulting with local and state agencies, that we are ready to play Sunday night’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium as originally scheduled.”
The Tampa Bay area, first thought to be directly in the path of the hurricane, did not take the brunt of the storm, as Ian veered east and pounded Southwest and Central Florida after making landfall with winds in excess of 140 mph. Several million people are without power and the flooding has been described as “catastrophic” by experts.
The University of Florida game against Eastern Washington, scheduled for Saturday, has been re-scheduled for Sunday, October 2, at noon in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Additionally, the university has announced that classes and all academic and student-related activities, including online classes, are canceled through Friday.
South Florida is set to host East Carolina on Saturday, but that game is expected to relocate to Boca Raton, Florida. Originally scheduled for kickoff at 7 p.m. ET at Raymond James Stadium, the game will now take place at Florida Atlantic University at 2:30 p.m. ET. The venue is free with the host Owls playing on the road at North Texas.
South Carolina and South Carolina State will not be changing venues, but instead the day on which their game is played. Instead of the interstate clash taking place at noon on Saturday, the schools will move the game to 7 p.m. ET Thursday to avoid impending weather.
“Due to the potential impact of the hurricane on Columbia and the surrounding area, it is in the best interest of safety to play the game on Thursday rather than Saturday afternoon,” South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner said in a statement. “I appreciate the cooperation of South Carolina State head coach Buddy Pough, the South Carolina State administration and the Southeastern Conference officials who worked closely to make the appropriate operational adjustments in order to accommodate this change in the schedule.”
The University of Central Florida home game against SMU will still take place in Orlando, but has been moved to Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. Florida State University has held steady on hosting its game with Wake Forest on Saturday afternoon, but is monitoring the situation.
The NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning also postponed preseason games against Carolina on Wednesday and Nashville on Thursday that were scheduled for Amalie Arena in Tampa.