The Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Progressive insurance company has signed a one-year deal to be the title sponsor of the Gator Bowl.

The deal includes an option for three more years.

The Gator Bowl, which will feature Mississippi State against Michigan on New Year's Day, had been operating without a title sponsor since Konica Minolta declined to continue after a three-year deal ended in 2009.

Securing a title sponsor was crucial to the Gator Bowl being able to offer more payout money to participating schools. The bowl hopes to improve its pecking order in the Southeastern Conference and the Big Ten. This year, the Gator Bowl got the seventh choice from the SEC and the fourth selection from the Big Ten.