CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) — The ReliaQuest Bowl brought thousands of football fans to Clearwater Beach on Friday.

Illinois and Mississippi State are scheduled to face off in the ReliaQuest Bowl and teams have been in Tampa Bay all week. Dancers, cheer teams, and marching bands from both teams pumped up the crowd throughout the afternoon.

Some fans told 8 On Your Side they drove all the way down to Florida and have enjoyed the weather.

“We’re here from Champaign, Illinois,” Illinois Fan Steve Largent said. “It’s 40 below zero at home.“

Some fans from Mississippi State said the game is incredibly meaningful this year as they honor Coach Mike Leach who passed away earlier this month.

“I hope they find a way to honor him in years in the future, but I know that this would be the biggest time they would do it,” Mississippi State Fan Brad Mills said.

Organizers for the ReliaQuest Bowl have canceled Saturday’s New Years’ Eve Parade in Ybor City due to weather.

The ReliaQuest Bowl will be played at Raymond James Stadium on Monday, Jan. 2, at noon. Fans can purchase tickets by following this link.