UCF and the American Athletic Conference announced the decision on Tuesday, hours after Irma was upgraded to a dangerous Category 5 storm, the most powerful seen in the Atlantic in more than a decade.
The game, initially scheduled for Saturday at 8 p.m. ET in Orlando, Florida, instead will be played at 6:30 p.m. on Friday night.
"The best option for ensuring this game is played is to move it to Friday night," UCF athletic director Danny White said in a statement. "With travel considerations, we had to make that decision today. I thank the University of Memphis and the American Athletic Conference for working with us to keep safety our top priority while finding a way to play this game."
Florida International officials decided on Tuesday that their home game against Alcorn State on Saturday night will not be played in South Florida, though it might be played elsewhere this weekend.
FIU officials were trying to find any way to get their game in.
"We are monitoring the situation and looking at all options,'' said FIU executive director of sports and entertainment Pete Garcia.
For now, No. 16 Miami and Florida Atlantic are planning to play their games this weekend -- well out of the storm's projected path. Miami is scheduled to play at Arkansas State, and FAU is set to visit No. 9 Wisconsin.
Getting out of South Florida shouldn't be a problem for those teams. Getting back might be another story.
"Right now, everything is on go,'' Hurricanes coach Mark Richt said. "But with this storm coming and the direction it looks like it's taking, it's certainly a possibility it comes here, so we'll have to figure out what's best.''
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Tuesday that Irma was a "potentially catastrophic" storm with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph as it bore down on the twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda.
The center said there was a growing possibility that the storm's effects could be felt in Florida later this week and over the weekend, though it was still too early to be sure of its track.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.