The prediction is mostly a tale of the good, the bad, and the good. I got the top eleven slots exactly right. While the top eight were set in stone, the prediction also correctly placed Takayasu at West Komusubi, marking his first appearance in the named ranks since his “Ozekiwake” tournament in January, followed by Kiribayama at M1e and Wakatakakage at M1w, marking career highs for both. I predicted that Onosho and Daieisho would occupy the M2 rank, although I had the sides switched. Kagayaki at M3e was a direct hit. And that’s where the banzuke committee and I parted ways for a while.
The banzuke has Okinoumi dropping only three and a half ranks, from K1e to M3w, after a terrible 4-11 performance. My prediction had him switched with Hokutofuji, who is ranked M4e, dropping two ranks after going 6-9. Given that Endo fell 7 full ranks from K1w with only one more loss, it’s hard to see why Okinoumi was treated so leniently. Then comes an even bigger surprise: Tobizaru jumping nine and a half ranks, from M14e to M4w, after his breakout 11-4 performance. The highest I could have reasonably seen him placed is M5e, where the banzuke committee placed Myogiryu, who went 6-9 at M3e. Usually, the rankings tend to favor under-demoting upper rankers over over-promoting lower rankers, but this time they went in the other direction. That trend continued with Kotoshoho at M5w, a six-and-a-half rank jump after a 10-5 record, ranked ahead of Tamawashi and Tochinoshin. My only direct hit between M3w and M7e was Takarafuji at M6e, dropping half a rank after a minimal 7-8 make-koshi.
After that, the banzuke committee and I got back in sync, starting with placing the aforementioned Endo at M7w. My only misses on the lower half of the banzuke were switching the order of Aoiyama and Terutsuyoshi at M8 and placing Chiyotairyu above Kotonowaka and Shimanoumi above Akua when making the close calls between top-division incumbents and Juryo promotees. I correctly forecast the five Makuuchi demotions (J11 Abi, J8 Kyokutaisei, J3w Kotoshogiku, J3e Ishiura, and J2w Shohozan, whose new Juryo rankings give a good idea of their order in the demotion queue), as well as the five men taking their place, in the right order of promotion: M14e Chiyonokuni, M14w Kotonowaka, M15w Kotoyuki, M16e Chiyoshoma, and M16w Akua, who is making his top-division debut.
So that’s 27 direct hits out of 42 banzuke positions, with 4 additional rikishi placed at the correct rank but on the wrong side, and 11 misses. While 7 of those misses were by half a rank, the other 4 were by more than a rank—Tochinoshin, Tamawashi, and Kotoshoho by one-and-a-half each, and my biggest miss, Tobizaru, by two full ranks.
In lower-division news, the top three ranks in Juryo are occupied by Akiseyama, Chiyonoo, and Midorifuji, all of whom narrowly missed out on promotion. And in Makushita, the man who arguably should have gotten his sekitori debut, Naya, occupies Ms1w, where a winning record should see him in the paid ranks in January. And with that, on to the basho!