SALT LAKE CITY — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham doesn't pull any punches when it comes to TCU.

"Hands down, the best football team we've played since I've been at Utah," said Whittingham, who considers this year's version better than the Horned Frogs' 2009 squad and Alabama, the Utes' foe in the Sugar Bowl.

"I hope they get a shot to play for it all," he added. "I think they deserve that."

Starting center Zane Taylor also has high praise for the Frogs.

"They are the best team I've ever gone against. I've played against Alabama. I've played against some really great teams. They were definitely, by far, the best team I've played," Taylor said.

"Another thing about TCU, they're classy guys. They have great sportsmanship. They win with class. They're humble and I hope they win the rest of their games this season and I hope they have a big thing to play for at the end of the season."

BEEN THERE: Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn has been to Notre Dame before. As an eighth-grader, he attended a camp conducted by former Fighting Irish head coach Charlie Weis.

"It's a cool place," Wynn said of his only other trip to South Bend.

ANOTHER TIE: Back in the day, in 2003 when he was a junior in high school, Utah defensive end Christian Cox used to play for Notre Dame — on a video game.

"I wasn't fond of them," he explained. "They were just one of the better teams I chose to play with."

GETTING READY: Utah practiced indoors Monday with the Notre Dame fight song repeatedly being played over speakers instead of crowd noise. A reporter told Whittingham that he had an overwhelming desire to watch the movie "Rudy" when he got home.

"It's Notre Dame week," Whittingham said. "Hey, we've got to get them ready. They are going to be in one of the most storied, steeped in tradition, stadiums in the country — if not the most — and just want to start getting the feel for it."