MIAMI — Fear of the damage that powerful Hurricane Matthew may cause prompted two college football postponements Thursday, and had the NFL plotting just-in-case scenarios for games scheduled in Tampa and Miami this weekend.

A pair of college games set to be played Saturday – LSU at No. 18 Florida and Charlotte at Florida Atlantic – were postponed. The Tigers-Gators game that was scheduled for Gainesville is off indefinitely, and the Charlotte-FAU game scheduled for Boca Raton is now tentatively to be played Sunday.

Saturday night’s game that has No. 23 Florida State visiting No. 10 Miami remained on as scheduled, though officials remain somewhat cautious. The fate of Saturday’s Georgia at South Carolina football game also remained unclear, because Matthew is expected to head that way this weekend.

A major issue with games in Florida this weekend isn’t the weather forecast for Saturday and Sunday, because those days look to be generally fine around the state. It’s whether police, first responders and other key personnel needed at football games that draw massive crowds will be deployed to assist in areas that will take the brunt of Matthew’s wrath.

“This is a potentially catastrophic event for the state,” said Jeremy Foley, Florida’s athletic director, “and public resources need to be employed where they’re most needed.”

Matthew has prompted three FBS postponements this weekend, all in Florida. The Tulane at Central Florida game, which was to played Friday, will be played next month.

Florida State originally planned to fly to Miami on Thursday evening; the Seminoles remained home and now plan to make the trip south Friday.

Miami moved into its home-game hotel ahead of schedule, in part because its campus was closed and classes were canceled.

“Our hope is to be able to play at Hard Rock Stadium,” Miami athletic director Blake James said. “Obviously, things can happen that prohibit that.”

The NFL hopes to play at Hard Rock Stadium as well – the Miami Dolphins are to play the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

The metro Miami area was not taking the brunt of the storm, and sunshine is even in Friday’s forecast.

But there are things to assess before deciding if the FSU-Miami and Titans-Dolphins games can absolutely be played – namely if it’s safe for fans to be on the roads and whether police departments have the resources to simultaneously handle football crowds and storm-devastated areas.

“As always, our overriding concern is for public safety and not doing anything that will divert important resources away from communities that may be in distress,” the NFL said in a statement. “Consistent with that, we are conducting contingency planning for the Tennessee at Miami game as well as the Tampa Bay at Carolina game.”

Tampa Bay is to play at Carolina on Monday night.


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