What life looked like the last time Duke football won a conference championship

It has been a long time since the Duke football program won a conference championship. Here's what life looked like in 1989.
Elon v Duke
Elon v Duke / Lance King/GettyImages

There once was a time when winning conference football titles was fairly common at Duke. However, those days are gone as life in the ACC has proven to be rather challenging for the program.

Still, Duke can boast 17 conference crowns to its credit. Of course, the majority of those (10 to be exact) came in the Southern Conference.

That league was founded in 1921. At the time that Duke won its final Southern Conference title in 1952, the league also featured such programs as Clemson, Davidson, George Washington, Maryland, UNC, NC State, Richmond, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, West Virginia, and William and Mary.

In the ACC, the Blue Devils have won seven conference crowns (1953-55, 1960-62, and 1989). However, it has been three and a half decades since the program last captured a conference title. So let's look at what life was like when the Blue Devils last reigned over the ACC.

Steve Spurrier led Duke to a magical season in 1989

In 1989, head coach Steve Spurrier was still an up-and-coming name in the sport rather than the legend that he would soon become. It was his third season at Duke and he would lead the team to an 8-4 mark. That included a 6-1-0 record in conference play to share the league crown with Virginia.

The biggest win of the year was a 21-17 upset of No. 7 Clemson in Durham. Duke also claimed victories over Northwestern, Army, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, UNC, and NC State. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils' losses came against South Carolina, No. 17 Tennessee, Virginia, and No. 24 Texas Tech in the All-American Bowl.

After that season, Suprrier would land the head coaching job at Florida where he would remain until 2001. And since then, the Blue Devils have been thirsting for another taste of a conference title.

What life was like in 1989

In 1989, you could see a movie for $3.99. Some of the flicks you could have enjoyed that year include Batman, Do the Right Thing, When Harry Met Sally, Driving Miss Daisy, The Little Mermaid, Say Anything, and Roger & Me.

Meanwhile, a loaf of bread cost $0.67, a dozen eggs cost $0.95, and the average gallon of gas cost $1.06. Though the internet was still a novelty that most people knew little to nothing about, a personal computer could be bought for a stunningly high price of $7,300. On the other end of the spectrum, though, the median sale price of homes in the U.S. was just $118,900.

In sports that year, the San Francisco 49ers won Super Bowl XXIII by beating the Cincinnati Bengals 20-16. Notre Dame won the college football National Championship after beating West Virginia 34-21 in the Fiesta Bowl.

However, the sporting world's biggest story was the 1989 World Series. What made that 4-0 Oakland Athletics' victory over the San Francisco Giants so memorable wasn't what happened on the diamond, though. Rather, it was the earthquake that struck during game three of the series causing massive damage throughout Northern California.

Internationally, 1989 saw the official end of the Cold War. In December, United States President George Bush and Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev met to discuss the end of the Cold War. They held their Summit in Malta not long after the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany.

Earlier that year, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker was grounded in Alaska’s Prince William Sound on March 24th. It would spill 11,000,000 gallons of oil.

In April, Nintendo released the Game Boy. It was the first hand-held video game system to allow players to swap cartridges.

In China, protests in Tiananmen Square captured the world's attention. Student-led demonstrations that lasted over a month led to the eventual slaughtering of several hundred to several thousand (depending on the reports) demonstrators by military forces.

The music of 1989 was diverse. Everyone from Poison, to Paula Abdul, to Bette Middler, to New Kids on the Block had hits that year. It was "Look Away" by Chicago that topped the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 chart for the year, though.

As you can see, 1989 was a fascinating year. It was also a great year for Duke football. Now, some 35 years later, the Blue Devils hope to have another memorable campaign just as they did the last time they won a conference crown.