Small college football in Washington is not a sport of luxury.

The University of the District of Columbia doesn't have its own field, playing its games on the Coolidge High School grounds. Bowie State doesn't have well-known opponents, playing teams like Livingstone College and Fayetteville State. Gallaudet didn't have enough players to play last year.

The mark of local colleges is, not surprisingly, local talent: Georgetown's Jim Corcoran, from Georgetown Prep and a Division III all-America, and Charles Chisley, a UDC senior from Ballou, should highlight much of the upcoming small college action.

UDC: Chisley, the team's leading receiver the last two years, has attracted the notice of pro scouts. He accounts for most of UDC's offense and has scored 19 touchdowns in two seasons. For that, he gets triple coverage.

The Firebirds' offensive line was weak last year, responsible in part for the team's 3-7 record. Size is once more a problem for the entire team.

Safety Steve Pettus, cornerback Vincent Cox, a four-year starter from Anacostia, and Kelly Putman, a four-year man from McKinley, anchor UDC's defense. Two freshmen, John Dangerfield from Gar-Field and Terry Scott from Coolidge, will vie to start at quarterback.

Georgetown: There won't be a more experienced team in Washington. Forty-eight lettermen return and only four were lost to graduation. Experience should help the offense, which averaged less than three yards rushing and less than 40 percent pass completions last year.

Defense is, again, the Hoyas' strength. Only two starters from last year's unit are missing.

Corcoran is Georgetown's standout, a Division III all-America the last two years. Corcoran, a place-kicker and safety, was second in the nation in interceptions both years.

A tougher schedule will challenge the Hoyas to better last season's 4-4 record. Fordham (Oct. 10) and Union College (Sept. 26) are new to the schedule.

The Stephen F. Dean Memorial Game, the annual meeting of cross-city rivals Georgetown and Catholic, is set for Oct. 31 at Georgetown.

Catholic: The Cardinals celebrate their 50th football season, 11 at club level, this year. Coach Joe Pascale, in his ninth year, directed Catholic to a 6-3 mark last fall at Brookland Stadium.

Senior defensive end Richard Frazier, a Division III all-America, is one of five starters returning to the defense. On offense, replacing graduated quarterback Steve Stanislav, who passed for 465 against Bridgewater last year, will be problematic. The Cardinals will look to Mike Brown, the leading rusher, for their running game.

Bowie State: The Bulldogs are no longer the defensive power they were in 1978, when they led all Division III teams in defense. This is expected to be a turn-around season for Bowie State, 2-8-1 last year. Coach John Organ, in his sixth year, is looking for immediate help from his freshmen.

Quarterback Lawrence Majors heads the group of veterans, including Marco Tongue, defensive back from Annapolis, and Len Barfield, nose guard from Arundel. Barfield missed four games with a broken arm last year.

New on the Bowie State schedule are Johnson C. Smith College (of North Carolina) Sept. 26, and North Carolina Central Oct. 31. The Bulldogs end their season Nov. 14 at UDC.

Montgomery College: Coach Steve Wilson says he has what may be his finest group of freshmen. That should help, because most of the players are freshmen. Recruits include Joe Bowie of Laurel, an All-Met second-teamer at nose guard, and Frank Oliver, an all-county halfback from Bladensburg.

Quarterback Butch Mattingly, from Bethesda-Chevy Chase, who helped MC to a 7-3 record last year, returns for his second season.

This season the Knights, already of the Maryland JUCO league, join a second league, the Coastal Conference, which had three of the top 10 junior college teams in the country last fall.

Gallaudet: Football returns to Gallaudet after one year's absence. The team will be composed of walk-ons and is not yet assembled, but officials at the school are confident of a large turnout. Gallaudet plays a five-game schedule, which begins Sept. 26 at Catholic.