CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami/AP) — When it comes to Mother Nature, there isn’t much that is in our control.
Teams across the southeastern portion of the U.S. were keeping a close eye Tuesday on the progress of Hurricane Matthew, which forecasters say could have a major impact on no fewer than four states by later this week.
Storm shutters were being drawn shut across windows at the University of Miami, where the 10th-ranked Hurricanes were preparing for their annual rivalry game with No. 23 Florida State on Saturday.
A hurricane watch was already posted for parts of Florida, while the southernmost portions of the state were under a tropical storm watch.
“I don’t know what we’ll do, to be honest with you,” Miami coach Mark Richt said. “Just keep everybody safe, first. We’ll do the best we can.”
Miami was preparing for several contingencies, including potentially using the bubble at the Miami Dolphins’ facility if inclement weather keeps the Hurricanes off their own practice field later this week.
The Atlantic Coast Conference — which could have at least five Saturday football games affected if the storm strikes as forecasters believe it could — said it was monitoring Matthew closely and hoped that games will be played as scheduled.
In South Carolina, Gov. Nikki Haley planned to issue an evacuation order Wednesday so that up to 1 million people can leave coastal areas. South Carolina is still planning to host its Southeastern Conference football game against Georgia on Saturday night.
The first U.S. sports cancellation related to Matthew came on Tuesday, when Gulfstream Park West announced its live thoroughbred racing cards for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were being scrapped.
Wednesday was to be first day of racing this season at the track in Miami Gardens, Florida.
“Safety of our fans, horses, jockeys, horsemen and employees is our top priority,” Gulfstream Park general manager P.J. Campo said. “Because weather conditions the next few days remain uncertain, we thought it was best to call off the next few days.”
An NHL preseason game scheduled for Thursday — Tampa Bay at Florida — remains scheduled, though the Panthers said they were monitoring developments.
The biggest issue caused by the storm, at least related to games this weekend, could be travel arrangements.
The Panthers were scheduled to fly to West Point, New York, on Friday, but if strong winds are pounding South Florida as forecasters expect, that trip could be affected. So might Florida State’s scheduled Thursday flight into Miami for Saturday night’s game.
Other Saturday ACC games that figure to be potentially affected include Army at Duke, Virginia Tech at North Carolina, Syracuse at Wake Forest and Notre Dame at N.C. State.
“Really everything is on the table right now,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said.
There’s a possibility that some of the ACC games could be moved to Sunday, if necessary. That isn’t a possibility for Florida State-Miami — since the Miami Dolphins play at Hard Rock Stadium, the field the Hurricanes use, on Sunday against Tennessee.
The Dolphins say that other than keeping tabs on the storm, there’s no change to any of their plans yet.
“It’s just now kind of a wait-and-see for us,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said.
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