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Hurricane Ivan could affect Florida sports

The latest natural disaster to befall the state, Hurricane Frances, disrupted the routine of all three Florida-based NFL franchises the past several days.

The next one could impact a game.

Although the league has not yet begun to make contingency plans, Dolphins and NFL officials likely will begin discussions sometime Tuesday about potential alternatives in the event Hurricane Ivan threatens the Miami-Tennessee opener scheduled for Sunday at Pro Player Stadium.

The third hurricane in three weeks to have Florida in its crosshairs, Ivan was predicted to move into the Caribbean late Tuesday, and some projections have suggested that it will cross into The Sunshine State late in the weekend. Suffice it to say that Miami and NFL officials are closely tracking the path of Hurricane Ivan.

"We'll start to look at preliminary plans depending on its projected path," said Harvey Greene, the Dolphins senior vice president for media relations.

As of Tuesday morning, Ivan had sustained winds of nearly 115 mph and was centered 110 miles south-southeast of Barbados. It was still about 1,670 miles from Miami. Forecasters were not certain whether it would strike the United States.

Any decision on the viability of playing the game will be made, of course, based largely on practical matters. But this is a particularly sensitive issue for Dolphins players, who balked at playing Friday night's preseason finale at New Orleans because they did not want to leave their families with Hurricane Frances approaching.

The NFL essentially ordered the Dolphins to make the trip, but nine players opted to stay behind, and the league was criticized in some quarters for its stance.

Not surprisingly, there are not many options if it appears Hurricane Ivan will be a factor. The teams have different bye weeks, Tennessee on Nov. 7 and Miami on Nov. 14, so rescheduling the game isn't possible. One possible scenario would be moving the game to either Saturday or Monday.

Titans coach Jeff Fisher said he will prepare his team for a Sunday kickoff, cross his fingers and count on the NFL to make a sound decision on the game.

The NFL isn't the only league keeping an eye on the weather. The possibility exists that the Miami-Florida State college football game, scheduled for Friday night at the Orange Bowl, could be called off for a second time.

Miami athletic director Paul Dee told the Palm Beach Post that he would be in contact Tuesday with officials from the ACC, Florida State and ABC, which is televising the game to a national audience. The game, originally scheduled for Monday night, was postponed Friday because of Hurricane Frances projections.

"We're just going to have to see where we're at," Dee told the newspaper. "We'll have to see where the storm is likely to be and then we would take all of that into consideration. We're not going to put anybody in harm's way."

Hurricane Frances also caused trouble for Major League Baseball. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays' problems getting a flight out of Florida resulted in a Monday doubleheader turning into a single night game and a New York Yankees request for a forfeit of the other game.

The commissioner's office told the teams to play one game at 7 p.m. and said it would decide later on when to reschedule the second game. Commissioner Bud Selig is said to have no intention of ordering a forfeit.

Meanwhile, the Marlins and Cubs have ironed out specifics of three make-up games. One game has been rescheduled as part of a doubleheader on Friday at Wrigley Field beginning at 2:20 p.m. ET. The remaining two are scheduled to be played as a doubleheader on Sept. 20 at Pro Player Stadium. A start time for the doubleheader will be announced at a later date.

Additionally, the Marlins have moved the start time for their home game against the Mets on Thursday from 3:05 p.m. ET to 1:05.

Hurricane Frances has uprooted the Marlins' momentum. They had won seven straight before Friday and now must cram 30 games into 27 days, a daunting schedule that begins Tuesday night against the Mets.

Information from senior ESPN.com NFL writer Len Pasquarelli and The Associated Press was used in this report.