Sometime this Saturday when BYU plays at Oregon, Cougar halfback Matt Bellini is expected to surpass Phil Odle as the pass-catchingest player in school history. The historic reception should come early in the game since Bellini, who is averaging nine catches a game, needs only four passes to pass Odle's mark of 183 career receptions that came in the years 1965-66-67.

Considering that BYU has passed for about a zillion yards since 1967, it's remarkable that Odle's mark has withstood all challenges until now, and that it's taking a fourth-year player (Odle played before freshmen were eligible and competed just three years) to have the record teetering on the brink of extinction."Aw, Jay Miller would have done it," says Odle, who is now a car salesman in Provo, as he speaks of the Cougar receiver who caught 100 passes in 1973, "but he got hurt and never had the chance."

Other challenges have come along every couple of years the past two decades. Among others, Gordon Hudson had a good shot, but he got hurt. So did Glen Kozlowski.

With Bellini so close, Odle has resigned himself to the inevitable. But he's honest about the fact he doesn't want to see his record bite the dust.

"It's easier because I know Matt Bellini so well," says Odle, whose son, Matt, was a Cougar receiver and friend and teammate of Bellini's. "Just last week he rolled in here on his scooter and we had a chance to talk about the record. I said, `you'll get it,' and encouraged him and he said, `yeah, but you don't want me to break it.' When I thought about it, I realized he was right."THE PEN IS MIGHTY: Karl Malone's new eight-year Jazz contract, reportedly in the $3 million a year neighborhood, came about when Malone was in Salt Lake this summer and read a column written by Brad Rock in the Deseret News that said the Jazz, according to general manager Tim Howells, would not be renegotiating any contracts this year. The column went on to add that Malone, with his existing $1.8 million-a-year contract, did not make Sport Magazine's top 100 money-makers list.

Since it was Malone's understanding that Jazz owner Larry Miller planned to increase his salary in line with the NBA's recent runaway inflation, Malone wrote Miller a letter, asking him what the deal was. Miller wrote back and said the deal was a raise to $3 million a year.

The new pact makes Malone one of the NBA's highest-paid players, and eliminates any possibility of a training camp holdout this fall.

Says Rock: "Hey, the big guy owes me one."ADD MALONE: Only Hot Rod Williams ($5 million), Patrick Ewing ($4.2 million), Akeem Olajuwon ($4.1 million), Sam Perkins ($3.2 million) and Magic Johnson ($3.1 million) now make more than Malone in the NBA. Among forwards, he ranks third, behind Perkins and Williams and ahead of dozens, including Charles Barkley, Dominique Wilkins, Tom Chambers, Kevin McHale and Larry Bird.

And if Malone wants to get technical, he probably makes more than either Perkins or Johnson, both of whom have agents. Malone is his own agent. He gives the 10 percent to himself.NOW HE TELLS HIM: And then there's the case of San Francisco 49er quarterback Joe Montana, who, in a recent interview in Sport Magazine, said this concerning his 1990 $4 million salary as renegotiated by team owner Eddie DeBartolo:

"If Mr. Debartolo hadn't talked about redoing my contract, I wasn't going to complain about making $2 million this year."FLIPFLOP: Four games into the University of Utah's football season and two things are obvious: these aren't the same offenses and defenses of a year ago.

Consider: On defense, the Utes are allowing just 19.8 points per game compared to 42.9 points per game last season at this same juncture. One player, juco transfer linebacker Anthony Davis, has already made 50 tackles, a total almost half of what last year's team leader, Joe Clausi, with 112, registered the entire season.

And consider: On offense, the Utes are scoring 17.0 points per game compared to 29.3 points a year ago after four games. And quarterbacks Jason Woods and Mike Richmond have combined for one touchdown pass - well in back of Scott Mitchell's 1989 pace, when he set a school record with 31 touchdowns by passing.