Top search of the month: NFL expert picks
Our constant fascination with trying to predict the unknown manifests itself in many ways: Nostradamus' ongoing popularity, the growing buzz for the film "2012," office bets on when (or if) Brett Favre will retire and the weekly NFL expert picks. The experts have managed to do quite well with their predictions, especially considering each expert had at least 62 percent correct near the midway point of a season featuring three undefeated and three winless teams. For a second consecutive month, user interest in how well our experts can correctly predict each parity-filled NFL week has made it the top overall search. And there has been no sign of a decline in searches. In fact, the number of searches in October for NFL expert picks increased more than 60,000 since last month, to 280,000.
No. 4 Arcade: Sure, ESPN Arcade's graphics can't compete with the likes of XBox 360 or PS3, but its popularity keeps soaring with offerings that increase your keystroke coordination, such as "Linebacker" and "Speed Back," and others that increase your perception, such as "Zoom: Freeze Frame" and, um, "Zoom: Cheerleaders."
No. 7 BCS standings: Its formula is tougher than the Pythagorean theorum and it causes more arguments than health care reform, but users simply can't wait to check out the latest BCS standings.
No. 18 The Body Issue: ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue garnered plenty of buzz and searches as it featured the ultimate examples of form meeting function with athletes who have absolutely no issue with their bodies.
No. 19 30 for 30: The ambitious 30 for 30 series, which focuses on 30 significant moments in sports during the past 30 years, amassed a large amount of searches after the debuts of its first four critically acclaimed films in October ("Kings Ransom," "The Band that Wouldn't Die," "Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL?" and "Muhammad and Larry").
Surprise Search of the Month: Phil Ivey
He's been dubbed "the Tiger Woods of poker" and, as shown in his many tournament wins (as well as his infamous banned commercial), he has the uncanny ability to sport the most unflappable poker face ever no matter what the situation. In October, Ivey was featured in ESPN The Magazine and "E:60," and in November he'll continue his pursuit of his eighth World Series of Poker bracelet. After only 151 searches in September, Ivey received more than 3,800 in October (an increase of more than 2,400 percent) to become the surprise search of the month.
The Complete Top 25
Check out the ESPN Search Index for the latest buzz in search, including the top daily searches, surprises and movers.
Maalek Marshall is ESPN.com's search editor.
Note: The results listed are the summation of actual search results that were manually typed in by site users of ESPN.com in said month of 2009. All prelinked searches (including columnist archive links) were excluded from this summation.