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NFL, college football schedules scrambled by Hurricane Ian

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Tampa Bay area residents and drivers fill the lanes on I-4 as they escape the high winds and flood waters of Hurricane Ian with just a day left before the storm lands in Tampa, Florida, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022.

Tampa Bay area residents and drivers fill the lanes on I-4 as they escape the high winds and flood waters of Hurricane Ian with just a day left before the storm lands in Tampa, Florida, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022. (Willie J. Allen Jr./Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

Several college football games and one NFL game could be affected by Hurricane Ian this weekend as the storm bears down on Florida.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are scheduled to host the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL’s Sunday Night Football showcase spot.

But Ian is expected to wreck the Tampa area beginning Wednesday. The Bucs have already left town and will practice in Miami all week. Last year, the NFL moved a Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints game to Jacksonville in Week 1 because of Hurricane Ida.

Nic Merianos is tracking the hurricane in Florida.

As of Tuesday night, the NFL hasn’t announced any changes to the game plan for Chiefs at Bucs. If any are in store, the league will make a decision by Friday at the latest, according to USA Today.

Three colleges have already made decisions. The Florida Gators were scheduled to host Eastern Washington on Saturday at noon in Gainesville, but pushed the game back 24 hours, to Sunday.

South Carolina was also supposed to play at noon on Saturday, against South Carolina State. Instead, the Gamecocks and Bulldogs will move their in-state rivalry to 7 p.m. Thursday.

And South Florida, which usually plays its home games in the Buccaneers’ stadium, will instead host East Carolina on the opposite side of Florida, in Boca Raton. The ECU-USF game was also moved from 7 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Three more games in the hurricane’s potential path were still on the schedule as of Tuesday night: Wake Forest at Florida State, in Tallahassee; SMU at UCF, in Orlando; and N.C. State at Clemson, in Clemson, S.C.

Florida State and UCF both canceled classes from Wednesday to Friday but planned to reopen Saturday for football. Coaches at all six schools said their universities are monitoring the situation.

“Sounds like it’s going to be wet, but it’s going to be wet for both sides,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said at a press conference. “We’ll have to find a way.”

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