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Predicting Cubs' 2017 record

The Chicago Cubs are finally World Series champs. Can they repeat? AP Photo/Paul Beaty

Reason for optimism: From atop baseball's mountain at last, Cubs fans happily confirm the hopeful words of Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding: The Pacific really is as blue as it was in their dreams.

Reason for pessimism: Even the 1985 Chicago Bears defense was only that good for just one season.

After a winter's reflection, it wasn't the greatest game of my lifetime -- that distinction still belongs to Game 6 of the 2011 World Series -- but last year's season finale was unquestionably the most significant. What will probably be largely forgotten is how close Joe Maddon came to joining Al Capone, Mrs. O'Leary's cow and Steve Bartman as the final member of Chicago's Mount Rushmore of Infamy.

We're here to look forward though, not back, because, to slightly paraphrase the immortal words of the Dallas Cowboys' Duane Thomas, "They're gonna play it again this year, right?"

Not only are they going to play it again this year, but the Cubs are even heavier favorites to return to the Fall Classic than they were a year ago at this time.