OK, if the NFL can have its mock draft, I can have my mock banzuke. The real one comes out in a few hours but, while I wait…
- Yokozuna & Ozeki mostly unchanged
- New Sekiwake & Komusubi
- Tosayutaka demotion
- Kitataiki & Gagamaru promotion
- What we know:
With Kotoshogiku and Goeido securing kachikoshi, the upper ranks are pretty much set. I expect both of these rikishi to stay representing the West with Giku as W1, and Goeido as W2. I do think that Harumafuji and Kakuryu will swap places as Harumafuji takes W1 and Kakuryu takes E2.
Now, the hard bit. Did Ichinojo and Aoiyama do poorly enough to drop all the way out of the sanyaku and into the maegashira? I do not see either remaining as sekiwake with 9 and 10 losses respectively. Luckily for them, the upper maegashira were pretty well decimated so I expect both to stay at komusubi, though with Ichinojo’s better record, I think he’ll represent the East while Aoiyama will be komusubi for the West.
So, who gets to grab the sekiwake spots? Well, until the last day, I thought Goeido would get one. Now, despite a losing record, I think it’s possible Tochiozan will get one of the slots. Terunofuji was the only one among the top maegashira to get a winning record and with his special prize, I think he might leapfrog into sekiwake. Personally, I don’t think they’ll advance Tochiozan. So, Okinoumi gets the call into sekiwake with his 9-6 record. He had a very strong start to the last tournament but will get rocked during this one. His first week is going to be brutal, facing all yokozuna and ozeki. So, I’m calling Terunofuji as sekiwake for East and Okinoumi as sekiwake for West.
For the top maegashira, Tamawashi will bound to M1E and Myogiryu to M1W.
For the rest, the chips will fall where they may. I look forward to seeing Gagamaru and Kitataiki back among the upper-classmen. My only real question at this point is how far will Ikioi fall? I don’t think he’ll fall into Juryo but he’ll probably be looking up from M13. With this much easier schedule, I expect to see him pull himself together and get kachikoshi. I don’t think he’s going to want 10 or more wins, though, even among these weaker wrestlers. He needs to get some serious skill improvement before he faces the sanyaku again. I always enjoy his bouts and he always seems to go full bore into every match which is more than we seem to get from most maegashira after day 10.
Also, I’m not sure if Kagamio will hang around in the makuuchi. I think he’ll fall to J1E since he had makekoshi and one of his wins came by default.