49ers vs. Seahawks (credit: (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Like other major metropolitan areas around the country, the Bay Area is a hotbed for fall sports. Major League Baseball (MLB) is winding down the regular season and both the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s have been among the league’s best all season. The San Francisco 49ers opened up their new state-of-the-art football stadium in Santa Clara, the San Jose Sharks begin in early October and the Golden State Warriors in late October, around the same time the San Jose Earthquakes play their final regular season game. But it’s not just professional sports with marquee games, as Cal, Stanford, Santa Clara University and San Jose State all have important collegiate games during the fall in football, basketball, volleyball and soccer. Although some teams like the Golden State Warriors haven’t released its 2014-2015 season schedule, here are five of the best fall sporting events in the Bay Area.

Buster Posey (credit: Randy Yagi)

San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
AT&T Park
24 Willie Mays Plaza
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 972-2000
www.sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com
Date: Sept. 12-14, 2014

Earlier in the season, the San Francisco Giants looked like a runaway leader in the National League Western Division, on their way to a possible World Series appearance for the third time in four years. But coupled with the Giants’ typically agonizing “June swoon” and a Dodger resurgence, the historic rivals are battling for first place as the regular season comes to a close. The Giants and Dodgers meet twice in September, with the Giants hosting the Dodgers at AT&T Park September 12 to 14 and the Dodgers returning the favor at Dodger Stadium September 22 to 24. While the National League West is still up for grabs, the second place team still has a good chance to make the playoffs as one of the National League’s two Wild Card teams.

Oakland A’s vs. Los Angeles Angels
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
7000 Coliseum Way
Oakland, CA 94621
(510) 569-2121
www.oakland.athletics.mlb.com
Date: Sept. 22-24, 2014

The Oakland A’s have been leading the American League Western Division for nearly the entire year. But the rival Los Angeles Angels have been staying close to the A’s the entire second half of the season and the division championship appears headed to a showdown with a critical three-game series September 22 to 24 at O.Co Stadium. Yet despite having high-priced marquee players like Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout, the A’s have been considered the baseball team for much of the season and have played solid baseball with great pitching from players like Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir and great defense and batting from players like Josh Donaldson, Yoenis Céspedes and Brandon Moss.

San Francisco 49ers (credit: Randy Yagi)

San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks
Levi’s Stadium
4900 Marie P. DeBartolo Way
Santa Clara, CA 95054
(415) 464-9377
www.levisstadium.com
Date: Nov. 27, 2014

For San Francisco 49er fans, this Thanksgiving night matchup against the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks is the game of the year for the regular season. The 49ers are coming off a bitter loss against the Seahawks in the NFC Championship, which resulted in losing arguably their best defensive player NaVorro Bowman due to a devastating knee injury at the end of a highly controversial play. Despite missing all of the current season, Bowman is expected to return before this matchup against the two elite division rivals and the 49ers will look to exact revenge on their opponents from the Pacific Northwest. Two weeks later, the same two teams meet again at CenturyLink field in Seattle.

Stanford Football (credit: Randy Yagi)

2014 PAC 12 Football Championship
Levi’s Stadium
4900 Marie P. DeBartolo Way
Santa Clara, CA 95054
(415) 464-9377
www.levisstadium.com
Date: Dec. 5, 2014

One of the Bay Area’s biggest collegiate football events has been the Big Game pitting the Cal Bears against the Stanford Cardinal. But one of these teams may be playing in a far more important game at Levi’s Stadium – the Pac 12 Championship. Coming off a successful season only to be defeated by Michigan State in the Rose Bowl, Stanford University again expects to be a contender in the Northern Division, as does the Oregon Ducks, while Arizona State, Southern Cal and UCLA will all contend for the Southern Division for the right to meet for the division championship in December.

Oakland Raiders (credit: Randy Yagi)

Oakland Raiders vs. San Francisco 49ers
O.Co Coliseum
7000 Coliseum Way
Oakland, CA 94621
(510) 569-2121
www.raiders.com
Date: Dec. 7, 2014

The Oakland Raiders will host the San Francisco 49ers on their home field at O.Co Coliseum for the first time in 12 seasons in what won’t be just an ordinary regular season game. Coming off three consecutive appearances in the NFC Championship, and a Super Bowl loss to the Baltimore Ravens in 2013, the San Francisco 49ers are expected to be a Super Bowl contender again this season. But the Oakland Raiders have added a number of new players expected to contribute greatly, including James Jones, Maurice Jones-Drew, Matt Schaub and two former 49ers – Carlos Rogers and Tarrell Brown. Yet the 49ers still have something to prove and have also made major additions, such as Steve Johnson, Brandon Lloyd and Antoine Bethea, in addition to marquee players like Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore, Micahel Crabtree, Vernon Davis, Anquan Boldin and Patrick Willis. This game between the two Bay Area rivals will be played just 10 days after the 49ers meet their hated rivals, the Seattle Seahawks, in arguably the Bay Area game of the year.

Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com Examiner.com.