In what could be the ruggers' swan song as a varsity side, the Bears have launched a classic assault against their early-season opponents. Cal's won all of its eight matches to date, outscoring opponents by an average 14-to-1 margin.
Rugby is slated to lose its place among intercollege sports within the Athletics Department at the conclusion of the 2011 season and be relegated to club status under a plan announced by AD Sandy Barbour and Chancellor Birgenau. Oddly, the move would coincide with Cal's elevation to the newly organized College Premier League.
The Bears' first eight games of the season -- one conventional 80-minute Union match against Division I Sacramento State and seven abbreviated games played in the Dennis Storer Pac-12 Tournament hosted by UCLA -- have produced a 299-point scoring advantage. Half of the matches were shut-outs.
Cal's relatively slow scoring pace reflects recent graduation losses. At this point last season, the Bears had notched a 457-point advantage against opponents. In the 2009 season, the ruggers had amassed a 434-point edge by this time.
Defensively, the Bears are fairly much on pace with previous seasons, allowing 23 points. At this point in the 2009 season, opponents had scored 19 points against Cal, but were limited to only a dozen last year.
It's early enough in Cal's season to work on skill development, though the task is made more difficult with the loss of Witter Rugby Field to the Memorial Stadium/Student-Athlete High Performance Center renovation project. Cal is an itinerant team this season, playing only two 'home" matches on Treasure Island pitches in 2011.
The Bears' tuning needs to be complete by the launch of College Premier League play in March. A seven-match schedule will pit Cal against San Diego State, UC Davis, Central Washington, UCLA, Claremont Colleges, St. Mary's and Cal Poly-SLO in the run-up to the CPL championship series in May.
Cal debuts on Treasure Island next Saturday, taking on the Division 1 Wildcats of Chico State at 1 p.m.