The March rankings have been released. Let’s take a look at how they compare to the forecast I posted a week ago.
The upper ranks are exactly as predicted, with one glaring exception. That, of course, is the yusho winner M1w Daieisho (13-2) being ranked K2w instead of S2w as everyone expected. It’s difficult to know how to explain the snub. No yusho winner ranked M4 or higher had ever failed to make Sekiwake, nor had any M1 with a record of 13-2 or better. Since no one has ever been promoted to Ozeki from a rank below Sekiwake, is this perhaps an unnecessarily harsh reminder that the NSK does not consider Daieisho to be on an Ozeki run?
My prediction had the upper maegashira ranks (M1-M6) exactly right. However, I had reason to worry about the mid-maegashira ranks. While I expected the trouble area to extend from M7w to M10e, it in fact covered M7e to M11w, where the only prediction I got right was the absent Chiyonokuni and Chiyotairyu maintaining their positions at M9e and M11e, respectively. Among other oddities, this part of the banzuke is characterized by historically lenient demotions: only 3 ranks for Tochinoshin after a 4-11 record, and only one rank for Kagayaki and Tobizaru after their 6-9 performances.
From there, my forecast got back on track, getting all the ranks from M12 to M16 right and only placing Hidenoumi and Yutakayama on the wrong sides at M15. In particular, Tokushoryu will indeed join Sadanoumi and Akua down in Juryo, with Hidenoumi, Tsurugisho, and Daiamami taking their places in the top division.
Despite getting the middle of the banzuke completely wrong, your humble prognosticator now holds the top rank in GTB, based on a weighted average of the last 6 predictions.