Leading Off: Which NorCal pro team will win a title in 2014?

To steal a phrase from 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh: Who’s got it better than us, Northern California sports fans?

Outside of the Kings, Raiders and Earthquakes – if you want to include a soccer team – most major-league sports teams within our region are contenders to win a world championship in 2014. The real question is which has the best chance at the brass ring?

• A’s general manager Billy Beane didn’t waste time this offseason, bringing in utility infielder Nick Punto, left-handed starter Scott Kazmir and closer Jim Johnson, who had 50 saves in 59 opportunities last season in Baltimore. The moves are proof that Oakland isn’t content after winning two consecutive American League West titles.

• After finishing 10 games below .500, the Giants didn’t hit the panic button this offseason. By adding veteran starter Tim Hudson and left-fielder Michael Morse, the Giants are counting on most of the same roster that won the 2012 World Series to bounce back in 2014.

• The 49ers lost the Super Bowl last February and finished second in the NFC West this season, but many believe San Francisco is a stronger team entering this postseason than it was a year ago.

• Despite preseason odds of 18-1 to win the Stanley Cup, the Sharks rank fourth in the Western Conference and will again be in the title mix come postseason. But will San Jose ever break through in the playoffs?

• Unless the Warriors completely collapse, they’ll compete in their second consecutive postseason after losing in the second round last May to San Antonio. How far Golden State advances this postseason depends upon the health of Stephen Curry and how hot he can get in the playoffs.

– Victor Contreras

Today’s poll

Which NorCal pro team has the best chance to win a title in 2014?

• A’s

• Giants

• 49ers

• Sharks

• Warriors

Vote above, or go to

Weekend poll results

Who is the greatest

NFL quarterback

of the past 25 years?

• Tom Brady: 6%

• John Elway: 2%

• Brett Favre: 2%

• Peyton Manning: 9%

• Dan Marino: 1%

• Joe Montana: 78%

• Other: 2%

Total votes: 427

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