I certainly don't see what is wrong with the rumored 9970 specs, but oh well.
Now, to the 780's.
1) The Classified is extremely popular due to the reports of overclockers getting over 1400mhz on air and above on water. Fantastic card, so I have heard. Of course, there is the silicon lottery in play here, as always. Certainly a good choice among the 780's available. My only gripes about it is the lack of a backplate and also, there price increase to $729 to "compete" with the 780 Lightning.
2) The 780 Lightning SEEMS like an amazing card that once the problems with voltage control, power limit, etc has been rectified, it will be one of the best, if not the best, 780. The main problem with the Lightning is the lack of support for proper overclocking tools from MSI. This is also on top of MSI's horrible marketing for the Lightning, making people have a bad taste in their mouth about buying one and of course, that hefty $100 premium. I would watch and see what happens once the problems have been solved, because I'm sure it will be worth the extra cash.
3) The HOF has been getting great reviews. If you look through Newegg reviews(however reliable they are is questionable) people have been getting good overclocking. I've heard little to no complaints about it, other than it is voltage locked( I think). As to why it is not as popular, is mainly due to the anticipation of the Classified and the Lightning. Both are big names and a lot of anticipation is behind them.
If I were you, I'd wait and see how the Lightning fares once the problems are solved. If you are in a hurry, you cannot go wrong with the Classified nor the HOF.
Hope this helps.