Aki Banzuke Crystal Ball

In my previous post, I took a preliminary look at what the Nagoya results mean for the named ranks and division exchanges on the September banzuke. Now, let’s tackle the hard stuff and try to sort out the maegashira mess. This turns out to be an exercise not for the faint of heart. By the usual banzuke math, only 7 rikishi deserve to be ranked M1-M7, and since there are 14 spots to fill, the banzuke committee will have to be creative, with lots of very lenient demotions and generous promotions.

Only 4 of the 12 maegashira ranked between M1 and M6 had winning records, and two of them—M1e Nishikigi (10-5) and M1w Tobizaru (9-6)—will be moving up to fill the vacant Komusubi slots. That leaves us with M3w Meisei (8-7) and M4e Asanoyama (8-4-3). Throw in the dropping K1w Abi (6-9), M2e Shodai (6-9), and M4w Ura (7-8), plus the surprise runner-up, M9w Hokutofuji (12-3), and that’s what we have to work with for the upper maegashira ranks. Obviously, the best Ura can do is keep his rank at M4w, which is what I expect to happen. Shodai’s record necessitates a demotion; we’ll get back to him in a moment. The other four rikishi will occupy M1-M2. With the same win total from a higher rank, Meisei has to stay ahead of Asanoyama, but other than that, I can see those two, Hokutofuji and Abi placed in almost any order. I don’t see a need to rank Abi at M1, and the most likely order seems like Hokutofuji, Meisei, Asanoyama, Abi, but Abi could jump ahead of Asanoyama, and Hokutofuji could be lower by virtue of his rank outside the joi.

At least the occupants of M1-M2 are pretty clear, even if the order is not. What do we do at M3? We can place Shodai on the east side, giving him only a one-rank demotion for his 6-9 record; this is extremely lenient, but there really isn’t a better candidate. But now we’ve used up all rikishi who deserve to be ranked M1-M5, and we still have four slots to fill. M7w Tamawashi (8-7) is really the only candidate for M3w, giving him a 3-rank over-promotion. With Ura filling the gap at M4w, the candidates for M4e, M5e, and M5w are M9e Takanosho (8-7), M13e Gonoyama (10-5), and M14w Shonannoumi (10-5). These are all very lenient promotions, but there isn’t really an alternative. And we’re not out of the woods yet. What do we do at M6?

Your humble prognosticator got this far, and then life got in the way of sumo blogging. Without further ado, here’s my full guess. We’ll find out how close it is to the real thing tomorrow/Monday, depending on your time zone.

12 thoughts on “Aki Banzuke Crystal Ball

    • We’ll learn a lot about his and Gonoyama’s true current level for sure. Hakuoho could be ranked higher than I have him, but won’t get tossed into the deep end like those two, despite the fact that he’d probably be more ready to handle it.

      • With all the tape on that shoulder, I am apprehensive. I hold my breath every time he fights because I want him to have Hakuho’s durability.

        • I think Hakuoho seriously has what it takes to become a yokozuna: poise, grace, and some serious footwork. As long as that shoulder remains healthy, the sky is the limit with him.

  1. I put Hakuoho at M6w, opposite Ryuden. That’s the same magnitude of overpromotion the other guys around him are getting. It doesn’t make sense for him to get one more win than them (against harder opposition), but fall further behind in rank.

    • We’ll see—the other guys were forced to get overpromoted as there was no one else to put there, while by the time it came to Hakuoho, there were options, but his possible range is quite wide.

  2. This is a Mega-Maegashira-Mess for sure. While I realize there isn’t much to choose from in terms of winning records, I always have a problem with a 6-9 guy only getting a 1 rank demotion.

    Case in point this time around would be Shodai and Oho. Both 6-9 but only a 1 rank demotion where on the other hand Abi, also 6-9, drops 2 ranks.

    This is why I stay out of the banzuke prediction game, I suck, and therefore always appreciate the team here giving it a shot.

  3. I never really understood why it was such a huge deal whether
    a Rikishi went kachi-kochi pr make-kochi. But this conjectured Banzuke
    shows how important it might be. If Tamawashi had gone 7-8 in Nagoya
    instead of 8-7 he would wind up perhaps 5 ranks worse off

    • Yeah, while 8-7 over promotions happen, any 7-8 promotion of even a rank require something extraordinary, like the yaocho scandal. But that’s just the banzuke side. There’s actually a financial benefit to kachi-koshi. Herouth had an excellent “splainer” article. Keep note that the numbers are subject to a multiplier which may be different now https://tachiai.org/2018/09/29/of-gold-stars-and-straight-wins/

  4. I tried to give the rikishi who were make-koshi a realistic demotion and tried to limit the over-promotion of the kachi-koshi ones. I agree with the top and bottom, M1 &M2 and M15 to M17. The rest are anyone’s guess, as the committee has proven over and over again.
    I had 14 matches overall.

    • Yeah, it’s tricky. With proper numerical demotions and promotions, there are 15 guys who should be ranked M8-M11, and some of them have to be pushed as high as M4, as there are only 7 who should be ranked as maegashira above M8.


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