After forecasting the torikumi for the remaining bouts at Aki, I couldn’t help wondering how the rest of the basho would play out. And once I started wondering, I couldn’t help making some predictions. These are much more speculative that the likely torikumi, but are fun to think about anyway.
A fitting end to Aki would be a tie among 8 or 9 rikishi with identical 12-3 (or 11-4) records, and a massive battle royale playoff for the Yusho. How much fun would this be? While a combination of basic probability and scheduling makes such an outcome unlikely, I’ll note that a 5-way playoff for the Yusho took place in November 1996, which I believe was also the last time that the Yusho was won with an 11-4 record. So we can hope.
What do I think will actually happen?
Harumafuji will drop one more match before getting dirt on Goeido on senshuraku. Record in the last 6 days: 5-1. Final record 11-4, just out of the playoff, but a respectable Yokozuna performance.
Goeido will lose one match before losing to Harumafuji on senshuraku. Record in the last 6 days: 4-2. Final record 12-3, playoff.
Mitakeumi will go 3-3, end the basho 8-7, and keep his Sekiwake rank, possibly switching sides with Yoshikaze.
Yoshikaze will go 4-2, end the basho 9-6, and keep his Sekiwake rank, possibly switching sides with Mitakeumi.
Tamawashi will go 3-3, end the basho 6-9, and drop out of San’yaku.
Tochiozan will go 4-2, end the basho 7-8, just short of his kachi-koshi, and also drop out of San’yaku.
Kotoshogiku will go 3-3 and end the basho 8-7, earning his kachi-koshi but remaining at M1 for Kyushu after being leapfrogged for the open Komusubi slots by Onosho and Chiyotairyu.
Hokutofuji will go 4-2, end the basho 8-7, keep his impressive record of (almost) all kachi-koshi finishes, and possibly stay stuck at M2 behind Kotoshogiku and Tochiozan.
Onosho will go 5-1, finish 12-3, and be in the playoff.
Chiyotairyu will go 5-1, finish 12-3, and be in the playoff.
I will not attempt to predict the result of a Goeido-Onosho-Chiyotairyu playoff, but it sure would be fun to watch! And it would not be out of the question for Harumafuji to run the table and join the party. Less likely, but Takanoiwa or Daishomaru could also be there.