Aki State of Play, Day 13, Part I: the yusho

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Harumafaji wins, Goeido loses. Likelihood: ~20%. Senshuraku winner takes all, unless Asanoyama forces a playoff.
  3. Harumafuji loses, Goeido wins. Likelihood: ~20%. Goeido clinches either an outright title or a playoff with Asanoyama.
  4. Harumafuji and Goeido both lose. Likelihood: ~10%. This is the best Wacky Aki scenario, as it opens the door to chaos.
    1. Goeido wins on senshuraku, takes the yusho or goes into a playoff with Asanoyama. Likelihood: ~3%.
    2. 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.
    3. 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%.

15 thoughts on “Aki State of Play, Day 13, Part I: the yusho

  1. Imagined rikishi reactions:

    Harumafuji: “I need to win all my bouts, each as it comes. Gambarimasu”.
    Goeido: “I’ll win my next two bouts”.
    Asanoyama: “Wait, there’s a cup?”

  2. Some of these scenarios are addressed in my upcoming day 14 preview that will go live in about 3 hours. It includes rules for a day 14 drinking game to help ease the shock to our readers as the improbability drive kicks in.

        • Ha, a 13 years old making jokes about boob envy and the Yokozuna’s prettier set of cheeks? I wish, but it’s quite the opposite… blood pressure medication…. Anyway, I could never stand alcohol. Particularly beer, which I believe is best poured directly to the toilet. Cut off the middle man.

  3. You know, of course, I want the max chaos scenario. Just because it will be so completely bonkers that we will never see anything like it for 50 years. But the road to that place is so narrow, and has so many turns and exits that I am sure only the Great Sumo Cat of the Kokugikan could make it happen.

    Much of what is happening on the torikumi day 14 is to pare down the field of a 16 rikishi who might be able to vie for the yusho in the max chaos scenario.

  4. Every time I think Haramafuji is back in it, something happens. So I have no confidence that he’ll be in contention on the final day, though I’d love to see it.

    Asanoyama’s sumo isn’t that dramatic but he seems to get the job done. And he’s young, injury free and actually looks like an athlete with that huge frame. With his happy go lucky demeanour I’m definitely rooting for him now Onosho and Chiyotairyu are out of it.


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