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.