After I posted my Makuuchi banzuke forecast, Josh asked if I could put together one for Juryo. Sure, I said, not realizing what I was getting myself into. It turns out that the Juryo banzuke is particularly tricky to piece together this time. The reason is that with the (at least) 5 best-performing rikishi being skimmed off to Makuuchi, there are not a lot of good records left in Juryo. Only four additional rikishi managed at least 9 wins, while five went 8-7, and most of these came from way down the rankings. As a result, there will be a lot of good banzuke luck to go around. Here’s my projection, but my confidence in it is not very high:
Even with 3 top-division wrestlers dropping down to Juryo, and 4 Makushita men coming up, it’s tricky to fill out the remaining 21 ranks without promoting rikishi with losing records, and I wonder if the banzuke commitee might be forced to relax this constraint. To make the banzuke work, I left the 5 rikishi with minimal 7-8 losing records at their current rank, and many of those with 6-9 records only went down a rank. I’ve also made no effort to interleave the Makushita promotions into the ranks, leaving them at the bottom.
Some notable rankings: Shimanoumi and Chiyomaru separated themselves from everyone else, and assuming that the banzuke committee leaves them in Juryo this time, they will be in pole position for promotion with winning records at Haru. Tachiai favorite Enho is projected to receive a generous bump from M8 to M3, and is also in good position to try to earn promotion to the top division. The Makuuchi dropouts—Kotoyuki, Daiamami, and Daishomaru—will be fortunate to be ranked this high, and can keep their visits to Juryo short with strong performances in Osaka.