JUST AS WE expected, more college conferences are looking at jumping on the have-your-own-channel bandwagon.

The Big Ten will launch a network in August. The SEC is looking at doing the same in a couple of years.

Of course, the Big Ten will be on DirecTV when it launches. And, without a doubt, in waaaay more than the 1.2 million cable homes currently carrying The mtn.

Unlike the Mountain West Conference's deal with CSTV, the Big Ten still has games on ESPN and ABC. The SEC has already made it clear it won't be exiting CBS and ESPN even if it does start its own channel.

Of course, those conferences have the kind of clout the MWC can only dream of.

Judging from the response to last week's column, what sticks in the craw of a lot of BYU and Utah fans is the sort of Alfred E. Neuman, "What, me worry?" attitude expressed by folks running The mtn. — a channel that is available in barely 1 percent of the TV-equipped homes in America.

And The mtn.'s general manager, Kim Carver, expressed that same sort of attitude to Scripps Howard for a story about the SEC's TV future published earlier this week.

"I was extremely pleased with the first year in terms of ad sales," she said. "The network appeals to a lot of people — young fans, alumni and the people in the region of each school. It's an excellent model. I don't see why it wouldn't work in bigger conferences."

I haven't heard from many BYU or Utah fans who would use the word "excellent" in the same sentence as "The mtn," especially fans who don't live along the Wasatch Front.

It certainly can't be what Carver & Co. intend, but a whole lot of comments that come out of Comcast (the manager partner in The mtn.) sound like there's absolutely no recognition that any MWC school might have a national following.

HAVES AND HAVE-NOTS: The nine members of the Mountain West Conference each received about $1.1 million from CSTV/The mtn. for their coverage of all sports during the 2006-07 school year.

The 12 members of the Southeastern Conference each received almost $3.6 million from CBS, ESPN, Fox Sports Net and the Lincoln Financial Network for their coverage of the 2006 football season. That's football only. And it doesn't include bowl revenues.

THE NEXT TIME you hear a TV sports executive insist that his or her network doesn't favor big-market teams over small-market teams, remember that Len DeLuca, ESPN's senior vice president, used the small markets-equal-bad ratings argument to explain why (through three games) the NBA finals are getting their worst ratings in more than two decades.

"We've got the 17th market and the 37th market, a matchup of the smallest markets in NBA finals history," DeLuca told the New York Times.

So would ESPN/ABC rather have the Lakers or the Jazz in the finals? The answer is rather obvious, isn't it?

WHO'S DUMB? Well, I am. I certainly was last week.

While I was pointing out something dumb that Kim Carver, vice president and general manager of The mtn., had said in a prepared statement (that the current TV deal reaches "more MWC fans than ever before"), I referred to Carver as "he." Actually, she's a she.

And, in pointing out that there's no "right" to watch sporting events on TV, I referred to the whole "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" in the U.S. Constitution. And that, of course, is in the Declaration of Independence.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

E-mail: pierce@desnews.com