Ken Houston of the Redskins has just been named winner of the 1978 Bart Starr Meritorious Service Award and will be honored Feb. 18 at the 11th annual Wisconsin Pro Football Awards Dinner, cosponsored by the Milwaukee Press Club and Lombardi Colon Cancer Clinic; 11-time Pro Bowl safety Houston was cited for participation in numerous charitable causes and work with retarded citizens.

The Bullets make it in award season, too. The Philadelphia Sports Writers Association has voted the NBA champions Team of the Year, with honors to be served at the annual Philly sports banquet (Hyatt House, Cherry Hill, N.J.), Monday night -- smack between Bullet home dates with New York on Sunday and Atlanta on Tuesday. This wouldn't be a left-handed slap at the 76ers, surely, but the citation goes to the "championship team, professional or amateur, whose excellence and achievement best reflect the qualities of team spirit, integrity and teamwork."

Joe Paterno, due here Saturday for Touchdown Club salute, doubles up by receiving at the Columbus TD Club bash tonight that outfit's Woody Hayes Trophy. They say Hayes won't be there to make the presentation.

Today's the day, the Yankees say, they'll make the Minnesota Twins a solid offer for the rights to deal with Rod Carew... The Twins, meanwhile, have rejected a proposed 30-year lease for the proposed domed stadium in downtown Minneapolis; terms were harsh, said team officials, including 42 percent stockholder Gabe Murphy.