Let’s start with an interesting historical note: since the basho length went to 15 bouts in 1949, only two Makuuchi yusho have been won with an 11-4 record, first in 1972 and second and last in 1996. There’s never been a 10-5 winner (although this is not uncommon in Juryo). We are quite likely to see an 11-4 winner at Aki, and 10-5 is within the realm of possibility.
So, the ever-changing yusho race. Here are some scenarios, depending on the outcomes tomorrow:
- Harumafuji and Goeido both win. Likelihood: ~50%. A Goeido win on senshuraku would clinch the yusho. A Harumafuji win would force a playoff, possibly 3-way with Asanoyama.
- Harumafaji wins, Goeido loses. Likelihood: ~20%. Senshuraku winner takes all, unless Asanoyama forces a playoff.
- Harumafuji loses, Goeido wins. Likelihood: ~20%. Goeido clinches either an outright title or a playoff with Asanoyama.
- Harumafuji and Goeido both lose. Likelihood: ~10%. This is the best Wacky Aki scenario, as it opens the door to chaos.
- Goeido wins on senshuraku, takes the yusho or goes into a playoff with Asanoyama. Likelihood: ~3%.
- Goeido loses on senshuraku. Asanoyama wins his final two matches and lifts the Emperor’s Cup as the lowest man on the banzuke. I’d give this an overall likelihood of ~1%, but the fact that it’s not zero is delightful. Various playoff scenarios raise the likelihood of an Asanoyama yusho to a few percent.
- Goeido loses on senshuraku, Asanoyama loses at least once. This opens the door to the free-for-all melee playoff among Harumafuji, Goeido, Asanoyama if he wins one bout, and any of the current 8-5 crowd that wins out. And we’d have our first-ever 10-5 champion! Chaos likelihood: ~6%.