A Bryzzo bounce-back, Blackhawks surge and the rest of what’s to come in 2018

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What better year than 2018 for Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo to get back to the All-Star Game? | Alex Brandon (AP)

On Jan. 1 — happy new year, Coach! — John Fox will be fired by the Bears.

On March 4 in St. Louis, Loyola — healthy again and raring to go — will win the championship game of the Missouri Valley men’s basketball tournament. A week later, the Ramblers will be the only team from Illinois to receive an NCAA Tournament assignment.

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On April 8, the Cubs will complete a season-opening 10-game trip to Miami, Cincinnati and Milwaukee, and every nudnik with a microphone or a bar stool will issue a bold proclamation about either the World Series title to come or a season gone completely off the rails. Such is the difference between 6-4 and 4-6.

Hey, don’t shoot the messenger, all right? I’m just telling you what’s going to happen in Chicago sports in 2018.

It turns out I’m not the only one with the gift of clairvoyance. On Twitter and Facebook, I invited folks to shed light on the year to come, and, boy, do some of you ever know what you’re talking about.

“The Cubs will win 90-95 games and the NL Central, but will lose to the Dodgers in the NLCS again,” wrote @dkellyChi. “Cubs fans will become increasingly jaded and spoiled, and some will be dumb enough to call for Theo Epstein’s firing when they fail to land Bryce Harper in free agency.”

Whoa, that’s a lot to take in.

“Bears win the NFC North under new coach Jim Harbaugh,” wrote Laith.

I can’t be the only one shaking my head.

But back to my list. On April 26, the Bears will draft a wide receiver. It only stands to reason that he’ll have various body parts in casts and slings before the season starts, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Sometime in May, the Blackhawks’ surprising playoff run will end. They’ll have snuck into a wild-card spot on the last day of the regular season, exacted first-round revenge on Nashville and skated on because, darn it, that’s what hockey players do. Or am I just dreaming?

On June 21, the Bulls will get their Duke big man in the first round of the draft. Sorry, it won’t be potential No. 1 overall pick Marvin Bagley III. It’ll be his 6-10, 260-pound teammate, Wendell Carter Jr. That’s what happens when you get halfway decent and cost yourself lottery position.

And now this, from @Benshaplaw1: “Bobby Portis becomes Heavyweight Champion of the World.”

That’s not even funny. Well, it’s a little funny.

And from Al: “Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito wins the AL Cy Young.”

Face, meet palm.

Here’s how I see it. On July 17, there will be multiple Cubs and White Sox in the All-Star Game at Nationals Park. Both Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo return, while Willson Contreras makes his midsummer debut. And Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada sure make a heck of a right side of the infield.

From Sept. 21-23, the Cubs and Sox will meet at Guaranteed Rate Field with a postseason berth on the line for one team and a winning record in the balance for the other. (You don’t need me to tell you which is which.) It’ll be the most intense, exciting few days of baseball on the South Side in a decade.

And on Dec. 30, another Bears season will come to an end. No division title. No playoffs. But perhaps some more hope than most of us are feeling right about now.

Laith isn’t the only one who won’t like the sound of that.

“I have an optimistic look,” wrote @_bigbritt. “Bears get the right guy in charge and have a good offseason, win 10 games and in the playoffs next year.”

I’m still having a hard time wrapping my clairvoyance around anything like that.

“The Bears will win nine games,” wrote @tsmithchicago. “Far more talent on this team than people realize. Are they great? No. But they certainly have some pieces.”

Sure, maybe. It sounds almost reasonable enough.

Are we done here? Not yet, says Vincent.

“I predict the author of this column will eat way too many Pop-Tarts.”

OK, that’s just mean.

Follow me on Twitter @SLGreenberg.

Email: sgreenberg@suntimes.com

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