Howard University can be excused today for humming "This Could Bethe Start of Something Big." Officials of Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., have just announced that the first football game of 1977 in their 76,800-seat facility will match the Bison and Florida A & M.

The game Saturday, Sept. 10, will be sponsored by an organization called 100 Black Men of New Jersey, for charitable purposes. And Howard should be loaded for Rattlers, bear or whatever. Coach Doug Porter has been oeverseeing a spring practice in which he's polished the skills of such returness as Brian Thomas at QB, James Breakfield at RB, Steve Wilson at WR and Dana Cunningham at LB - and has what shapes up as a fine crop of freshmen due in come fall.

Local signees include lineman Keith Mill of McNamara, Frank Mayeard of Eastern, Willaim Lee of Roosevelt via Rochester (Minn.) CC; DB Wesley James Marshall, a JuCo All-America at Mongtomery. Out-of-towners are topped by heavyweight Mitchell of Roosevelt and Montgomery College: LB offensive lines types Paul Aiken, high school All-Am from Hempstead (N.Y.) St. Paul's at 6-3, 240, and Fred Reid, 6-3, 250, from Waco (Tex.) Moore.

Paw that artificial turf, Bison; onward and upward . . .

ABC Television continues to rear-range the college football schedule to its liking, and likes Houston so much after its Cotton Bowl conquest of Maryland that it has switched the Cougar-UCLA opener from Sept. 7, only to learn the Houston Astros are baseballing in the Dome that date . . . Bigger rearrangement could come in 1978. Our man at the NCAAs, Paul Attner, passes along that CBS-TV plans a strong bid to wrest at least part of the college football package away from ABC.

CBS eyes a "split package concept" a la NFL on NBC and CBS; it could mean a rise from the $36 million NCAA is getting in the current two-year contract with ABC to $56 million ($28 million from each network) in 1978-79 - and for viewers, as many as 30 games a season as against the current 20. If restrictions on number of appearances by a school are maintained, more will gain exposure - and revenue. The vast number of colleges feeling underexposed in football, like the Atlantic Coast Conference, are all for that. Stay tuned . . .