Now that we know which rikishi will be moving up to the Juryo division in March, we can speculate on what the second-division banzuke will look like. My projection is based on the assumptions that there will be only two promotions from Juryo to Makuuchi (Nishikigi and Daiamami), only one demotion to Juryo (Kotoeko), and four demotions to Makushita: Sokokurai, Sakigake, Toyonoshima, and Irodori.
I feel pretty good about the top half of this projection (down to Mitoryu), but the bottom half was tricky to put together, and may be way off. The challenge is that there are simply not enough rikishi with sufficiently good records to fill the remaining ranks, even with 5 promotions from Makushita, subject to the provision that those with losing records don’t move up. I had to leave the 7-8 rikishi (Kyokutaisei, Takagenji, and Asagyokusei) at their current rank, but this still meant huge over-promotions of the lowest-ranked men with winning records (Churanoumi and Hoshoryu), as well as very high positions for the top two promoted Makushita wrestlers, Wakamotoharu and Midorifuji. (Kizakiumi and Yago get very lenient demotions).
I’m curious to see how some of the highly touted up-and-comers—Kotonowaka, Kotoshoho, Hoshoryu, Midorifuji— will fare at their new career-high ranks in Osaka. There are lots of other storylines to look forward to in the second division. Can Wakatakakage and Terunofuji continue their comebacks all the way to Makuuchi? How will Daishoho respond after his late-basho collapse that cost him what looked like a near-certain promotion? Can Kotoeko bounce back from a disastrous January performance? Will Ichinojo look any better in his second tournament back after sitting out much of Aki and all of Kyushu?
Let me know in the comments what you think of the projected rankings and which Juryo rikishi you’ll be watching in March.
UPDATE: Banzuke guru Asashosakari has a similar and probably more accurate guess over at Sumo forum. The main differences are dropping Chiyoshoma a rank and Yago a rank and a half, and moving Tomokaze up a rank.