The yusho race
We could see this coming from about Day 5—it’s the lone surviving current Ozeki against the former one for all the marbles. Takakeisho can take the title outright by defeating Terunofuji in regulation; otherwise we’ll have our first Makuuchi playoff since last September, when Mitakeumi prevailed over none other than Takakeisho. Should the Ozeki claim the yusho, this will mark the start of a Yokozuna run for him; I expect that even a playoff loss would count as a “yusho equivalent” given the current state of sumo’s highest rank.
The Sekiwake rank is set: it’ll be Terunofuji moving up, most likely to the east, and Takanosho (8-6) successfully defending his rank in his san’yaku debut. Both Komusubi slots are on the line tomorrow—Mitakeumi (6-8) and Takayasu (7-7) will occupy them if they win, and will drop into the rank-and-file if they lose. There are two contenders for promotion: M2w Daieisho (9-5) and M4e Hokutofuji (10-4). If one of them gets a better result than the other tomorrow, he’ll jump to the head of the line; otherwise, it’s not clear who’d get the slot if only one is open. I’m guessing that neither will have done quite enough even with a win to force the creation of extra Komusubi slots.
Makuuchi demotion candidates
There are two certain demotions: absent Kotoyuki and Enho. Yutakayama‘s win over Sadanoumi left him in the better position of the two to stay in the top division. Each should be safe with a win, and Yutakayama can probably survive a loss, while a loss by Sadanoumi to promotion-seeking Ishiura would see the two switching divisions in January. Everyone else is safe.
Juryo promotion candidates
The two open slots are spoken for by J2e Midorifuji (10-4), the sole leader in the Juryo yusho race, and J1e Akiseyama (8-6). J3e Ishiura (8-6) must win to move up, while J4e Chiyomaru (8-6) will be on the bubble if he wins and Yutakayama loses. Everyone else is out of luck.
Juryo demotion candidates
Four second-division slots are guaranteed to open: three via demotions of Abi, Fujiazuma, and Nishikifuji, and one with Kotoshogiku’s intai. Takagenji and Ikioi need final-day victories to stay in the paid ranks. Everyone else is safe.
Makushita promotion candidates
The four definite promotions are now clear: Ms1w Naya (6-1), Makushita yusho winner Ms15w Ryuko (7-0), Ms2e Yago (4-3) and Ms2w Shiraishi (4-3). Ms3e Kitaharima (4-3) and Ms4e Bushozan (4-3) are 5th and 6th in line, respectively, and will be hoping for losses by Takagenji and Ikioi.