After a 4–0 start, Kentucky finished the regular season 6–4–1 before playing in the 1983 Hall of Fame Classic Bowl, losing to #18 West Virginia, 20–16. The improvement from 1982's 0–10-–mark was, at the time, an NCAA record for most improvement in wins from one season to the next.
Following a 0–10–1 record in Jerry Claiborne's first season in 1982, Kentucky raced out to a 4–0 mark, opening with victories against Central Michigan, Kansas State, Indiana and Tulane. A loss to #7 Auburn was followed by a win at LSU, then a loss at #7 Georgia and a tie with Cincinnati. A win at Vanderbilt was followed by losses at #14 Florida and to Tennessee. The season closed with a 20–16 loss to #18 West Virginia in the 1983 Hall of Fame Classic Bowl.