It's a little early to be talking about local college football games on TV . . . but not that early. The season openers are in less than eight weeks.

At any rate, here are a few highlights (and lowlights) that viewers in Utah can look forward to (or complain about):

ABC has announced its schedule, and the BYU-at-Southern California game is on it on Saturday, Sept. 6.

This will not, however, be a national telecast. ABC will split the 6 p.m. telecast between BYU-USC and Florida-Miami. Which game do you think most of the country will be seeing?

I'm thinking the Cougars and the Trojans will be seen in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City — two TV markets that, combined, account for about 5.9 percent of the nation's TV households. (We contribute just over .7 percent.)

At least local viewers will see the game. And ABC affiliate KTVX-Ch. 4 is thrilled.

KSL-Ch. 5, which used to be the home of most of BYU's games but has been relegated to the lesser contests in recent years (because of Mountain West Conference TV contracts), will air one of the Cougars' biggest games Saturday, Nov. 15 at Notre Dame.

Not that KSL had anything to do with it. NBC carries all of the Fighting Irish's home games, and Ch. 5 is an NBC affiliate.

The local station would make a lot more money if it could do the game itself (and sell all the advertising), but they're still thrilled at Ch. 5.

By the way, in terms of national exposure, none of the local teams will have anything to match that BYU-ND game. NBC reaches virtually all of the nation's 1,067,000 TV-equipped households.

ESPN, which will air Utah's game against California (Thursday, Sept. 11) and BYU's games against Colorado State (Thursday, Oct. 9) and Boise State (Friday, Oct. 31) is in about 87 million homes. ESPN2, which will air BYU's game against Georgia Tech (Thursday, Aug. 31) and Utah's game against Oregon (Friday, Oct. 3), is in about 83 million homes.

Which is not to say that anything approaching that number of homes will actually tune in and watch any of these games. But when it comes to calling something a "national telecast," that's still only really true for a broadcast network. And only when the network is doing one game at a time.

Not surprisingly, Utah State — our other Division 1-A football team — is scheduled to make no appearances on either broadcast or cable networks this season. And, while the local TV schedules have yet to be finalized, the fact that the Aggies don't play the Cougars this season means one less USU appearance on local TV than usual.

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS: They're certainly thrilled at NBC that the 2010 Winter Olympics were awarded to Vancouver, B.C. Games in North America mean less trouble with time zones and tape-delayed telecasts.

But they can't be happy if, as is so often speculated, the 2010 announcement means the 2012 Summer Games won't be awarded to New York City. Meaning the network will have just those problems to deal with two years later.

However, Winter Games out-rate Summer Games on TV and fall in the middle of February sweeps. So, on balance, this is a good thing for NBC.


E-MAIL: pierce@desnews.com