The Last Time Duke Was Unranked, The World Was A Much Different Place
The Blue Devils are 15–6 and are sitting a shocking ninth in the ACC. For nearly the entirety of coach Mike Krzyzewski’s career, Duke basketball has epitomized greatness. If any team of this generation is even close to John Wooden’s UCLA, it’s Coach K’s Blue Devils.
It would be unfair to call this one misstep the beginning of the end of an era. At 68 years old, Coach K has shown no signs of slowing down and the one-and-done business of college basketball all but guarantees a new slew of top-tier talent next year. However, just as it is fun to see the Xaviers and Providences of the world become top 25 regularities, it’s a breath of fresh air not having Duke atop all leaderboards.
So, let’s take a look at what was happening the last time the Blue Devils were unranked. The Duke-free preseason poll of the 2007–08 season. Back when Kyle Singler was a diaper dandy and George W. Bush was president.
Billboard Hot 100: “Crank That” by Soulja Boy Tell’Em
Yes, Bathing Ape is a Japanese clothing company.
Aside from a one-week appearance by Kanye’s “Stronger,” “Crank That” dominated the charts for the months leading up to the 2007–08 season. Rumor has it, Coach K had on some Bathing Ape for the season opener. Speaking of Kanye…
Kanye West album: Graduation
Beginning to think the next album is fake, ‘Ye.
For all intents and purposes, Kanye is the anti-Coach K. But, you can’t tell me Gerald Henderson and company weren’t bumping Graduation in the locker room. Even 2007 Kanye wouldn’t have been able to tell you that he’d have two kids by now. We’ll be honored by your lateness when Waves drops.
Harry Potter movie: Order of the Phoenix
Ron’s all salty that Harry’s standing next to Hermoine.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was only the fifth installment of the uber-popular franchise. And, uber was only used by nerds to describe something awesome. Now, it’s an app and Daniel Radcliffe has a movie about farts.
World Series champion: Boston Red Sox
After an 85-year drought, the Sox locked up their second championship in just four years. Much to this Yankee fan’s chagrin. Hey Cameron Crazies, Boston fans waited a lifetime. You’ll live with a week of being unranked. Or 85 weeks. That’ll be OK too.
The Price Is Right host: Drew Carey
The last time Duke men’s basketball was unranked marked the beginning of the Drew Carey era on The Price Is Right. Homesick middle-schoolers wept across the country as they mourned the loss of Bob Barker. On television. He’s still alive.
Clearly a lot has changed since the Blue Devils were last left out of the rankings. If “Crank That” and Drew Carey are signs of things to come, let’s hope the Blue Devils right the ship sooner rather than later. If a Kanye album is on the way however, keep tanking, Duke.
A version of this story was originally published on February 2, 2016 on Slant.