BYU kicker Earl Kauffman has been in a bit of a placekicking slump lately, and he's not sure why.

In the first half of the season, Kauffman's kickoffs invariably sailed deep into the end zone, or out of it, leaving nothing for BYU's kickoff-coverage team to do.Lately, Kauffman has been landing his kicks consistently between the goal line and 5-yard line, and the result has been good field position for the opponent. Against Utah State, for instance, seven of Kauffman's eight kickoffs were returned, for an average of nearly 28 yards per return.

Kauffman said that against the Aggies he had problems with mechanics. He also suggested that fatigue may be a factor. "You do get a little tired at the end of a long season," he said.

BOWL FAME: BYU placed three times in a list of the "10 Best College Bowl Games" of the 1980's in the most recent issue of Sport magazine. The "Miracle Bowl" of 1980 was second, last year's Holiday Bowl matchup with Penn State finished sixth, and the national title-clinching Holiday Bowl win against Michigan in 1984 was eighth.

No. 1? The 1984 Orange Bowl, when Nebraska chose to go for a two-point conversion and lost the national title to Miami, 31-30.

RECORDS CHECK: Some lesser-known NCAA records BYU players have a chance to reach this week against Hawaii:

- With nine catches, Chris Smith will tie the single-season record of 73 receptions by a tight end, set last year by Utah's Dennis Smith.

- Detmer needs 47 total passing and rushing attempts to break the record for most plays total offense in a season, set by Houston's Andre Ware last year.

- Detmer needs 43 total passing and rushing attempts to break the record for most plays total offense in two seasons, set by BYU's Robbie Bosco in 1984-85.

- With one TD pass, Detmer will break the record for most consecutive games throwing a TD pass. He is tied with BYU's Steve Young, at 22.

- With 300 yards total offense, he will break the record for most games 300 yards in a season and most consecutive 300-yard games in a season. He is tied with BYU's Jim McMahon at 11.

- With 400 yards total offense, he will tie McMahon for most consecutive games gaining 400 yards or more, at four.

- With one touchdown passing or rushing, Detmer will tie McMahon for most TDs responsible for, three years, at 93.

- With four TDs passing or rushing, Detmer will pass McMahon's record for most TDs responsible for per game, three years.

- By being responsible for 20 points, Detmer will tie McMahon for most points responsible for (scored and passed for), two years.

There's more, but you get the picture. The word out of BYU is that with an average game against Hawaii, Detmer's name will appear in the NCAA record books more times than McMahon's, and that's saying something.

HOOP STUFF: Sport magazine recently ranked the top college basketball players in the country at each position, and there at No. 10 among centers was Greg Dennis of East Tennessee State. Dennis was held to 4-of-16 shooting by Shawn Bradley when East Tennessee played at Cougar Stadium.